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Post-Divorce Modification of Child Support

If you or your former spouse (or other parent of a child) experience a "substantial and continuing change in circumstances", you maybe able to petition the court to reconsider your child support payments. This is generally deemed to mean at least a 15 percent permanent increase or decrease in support obligation. It does not include a loss of employment, layoff or voluntary underemployment.  Another example of "substantial and continuing" would be the death or emancipation of one of the children for whom support is being paid by one party to the other.

See the Modification section of our main Child Support webpage for more information on the calculation of new child support obligations based on such substantial and continuing changes in circumstances.


KRS 403.213 (Criteria for modification of orders for child support) states:

(1) The Kentucky child support guidelines may be used by the parent, custodian, or agency substantially contributing to the support of the child as the basis for periodic updates of child support obligations and for modification of child support orders for health care. The provisions of any decree respecting child support may be modified only as to installments accruing subsequent to the filing of the motion for modification and only upon a showing of a material change in circumstances that is substantial and continuing.

(2) Application of the Kentucky child support guidelines to the circumstances of the parties at the time of the filing of a motion or petition for modification of the child support order which results in equal to or greater than a fifteen percent (15%) change in the amount of support due per month shall be rebuttably presumed to be a material change in circumstances. Application which results in less than a fifteen percent (15%) change in the amount of support due per month shall be rebuttably presumed not to be a material change in circumstances.

(3) Unless otherwise agreed in writing or expressly provided in the decree, provisions for the support of a child shall be terminated by emancipation of the child unless the child is a high school student when he reaches the age of eighteen (18). In cases where the child becomes emancipated because of age, but not due to marriage, while still a high school student, the court-ordered support shall continue while the child is a high school student, but not beyond completion of the school year during which the child reaches the age of nineteen (19) years. Provisions for the support of the child shall not be terminated by the death of a parent obligated to support the child. If a parent obligated to pay support dies, the amount of support may be modified, revoked, or commuted to a lump-sum payment, to the extent just and appropriate in the circumstances. Emancipation of the child shall not terminate the obligation of child support arrearages that accrued while the child was an unemancipated minor.

[Emphasis added.]


If you believe that you or your child's other parent have experienced a "substantial and continuing change in circumstances" as described above, you should talk to an experienced Family Law attorney about seeking a modification of the child support owed to you or by you.