Imputed Child Support Obligations

Note: This case is not final; a motion for discretionary review has been filed.
Kimbrough v. Com, __ S.W.3d __ (Ky. App. 2006), 2006 WL 2034015 (Ky. App.)
Issues and Holdings:
1) Whether the child support statute that provided a deduction from a parent’s gross income for an “imputed child support obligation” violated equal protection. The Court held no, the statute had a rational basis and therefore did not violate equal protection.
2) Whether the Court of Appeals was required to presume that the trial court’s order allowing the mother a deduction from her gross income for imputed child support for a prior-born child was proper. The Court held yes, that it was so required because the appellate record was incomplete.

Facts:

The mother filed a paternity action, regarding two children, against the father, and paternity was established. The father was required to pay child support. Approximately ten years later, the mother filed a motion for an increase in child support for child care and health care costs. The court granted the motion, and the father filed a motion to set aside the order. The father argued that KRS 403.212(2) (g) (4) was unconstitutional because it violated due process and equal protection. He claimed that the statute’s

allowance of the custodial parent to deduct an imputed child support amount for prior-born children in determining that parent’s gross income for purposes of calculating child support for later-born children was unconstitutional. The court denied the motion, and the father appealed.

Analysis:

In analyzing the equal protection argument, the Court applied the rational basis standard of review since the claim did not involve a suspect classification or fundamental right. Under the rational basis standard, a court must uphold the statute if the statutory classification bears some rational relationship to a legitimate state purpose. The Court found that the purpose of KRS 403.212(2) (g) (4) was to ensure that parents had sufficient financial resources to provide for prior-born children before setting child support for later-born children. The Court found this to be a rational basis, and noted that the question is not whether the statute is perfect or ideal.
In regard to the due process argument, the father argued that the order violated his due process rights because he was required to pay increased child support since the father of the mother’s prior-born child was incarcerated and not paying child support. The appellate record contained no evidence regarding child support calculations for the mother’s prior-born child. It is the appellant’s duty to make sure that the record is sufficient for adequate review. When the record is not complete, the Court must assume that the omitted portions of the record support the lower court’s findings.
Accordingly, the Court affirmed the decision below.