If your income has decreased or stopped amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and you have a child support obligation to the other parent of your child(ren), or if you were terminated from your employment amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and you were ordered to provide health insurance for your child(ren), you may be considering requesting a modification of your child support obligation.
To determine whether modification of a child support order is appropriate for a case, Kentucky Courts ask whether there is a showing of a material change in circumstances that is substantial and continuing. If an application of the Kentucky child support guidelines would result in equal to or greater than a fifteen percent (15%) change in the monthly child support obligation, there is presumed to be a material change in circumstances.
If your loss or decrease in income would be a material change in circumstances, the next question is whether the material change in circumstances is substantial and continuing. To be considered a substantial and continuing change in circumstances, the change in circumstances must be a “lasting circumstance.” Snow v. Snow, 24 S.W.3d 668, 673 (Ky. App. 2000) (holding that circumstances, which “cannot be . . . lasting circumstance[s] . . . do not provide a proper basis for reducing [a] child-support obligation.”).
If you were terminated from your employment due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are unlikely to be able to return to your employment, such a circumstance may be a lasting circumstance. If you have been laid off or your income has decreased, but you will return to your employment and your income will return to substantially the same amount, such a circumstance would probably not be considered a lasting circumstance.
If you and your spouse or former spouse are unable to come to an agreement regarding a child support modification, you may want to consider consulting an attorney. While all civil dockets have been canceled for non-emergencies, creative solutions may be available. We at Diana L. Skaggs + Partners, PLLC are continuing to meet with clients and prospective clients via Zoom, FaceTime, or telephone, and are always available for new client inquiries on our website.
Nathan R. Hardymon