Holland v. Holland, Motion Required Before Child Support May Be Modified

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Holland v. Holland, __ S.W.3d __ (Ky. App. 2009), 2008-CA-002115-ME

       At the time the parties divorced in 2007, the father was living in Hardin County, Kentucky and the mother was living in Jefferson County, Kentucky.  The trial court entered an order outlining various contingencies regarding parenting time and child support.  If the father moved to Louisville within ninety days of entry of the court’s order, the parties would share equal parenting time and determine an appropriate child support obligation.  If the parties could not agree on child support within 30 days of his relocation, the father could file a motion for modification of child support.  When the father actually relocated to Louisville, the parties could not agree on child support.  A hearing was scheduled on the matter on December 4, 2007, but the father never filed a written motion for modification.  Following the hearing, the trial court entered an order requiring that the new parenting schedule begin on December 8, 2007.  Then the court entered an order in May 2008 reducing his child support obligation.  The father asked the trial court to make the reduction retroactive to December 8, 2007, the date the new parenting schedule began.  The trial court denied his request since no written motion for modification of child support had been filed.     

The COA affirmed.  No oral or written motion for modification of child support had been filed.  The mother cannot be divested of child support payments that have already been accrued.  Since a court speaks through its written orders, no child support modification occurred until May 2008.  Pursuant to KRS 403.213(1), a written motion for modification is required before a trial court may change a child support award. 

Digested by Sarah Jost  Nielsen, Diana L. Skaggs + Associates

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