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Child support when wealthy parent never had custody

For many Kentucky couples who have children together, but are no longer involved in a relationship, child support can be a big issue. When the parents never lived together, and one is significantly wealthier than the other, this could be particularly true. Last month the Kentucky Supreme Court took up a case that seeks to address how best to determine the "reasonable needs" of children in this situation, when it comes to child support. 

The case at issue involves a professional basketball player who fathered a child when he was in college in Kentucky. In his first year of playing basketball professionally, he was paid approximately $1.4 million, and after asking for $5,000 a month for child support, the girl's mother secured an order of $4,250. The mother sought the amount to pay for the following for their daughter:

  • A good education
  • Nutritious meals
  • A home that is safe and stable

The man, who never actually lived with his daughter, claimed that amount was excessive and appealed the decision to the state Court of Appeals. That court agreed, pointing to the fact that the mother listed her entire monthly expenses at $1,547, which is considerably less than the requested amount.

In the state of Kentucky, there are guidelines in place for determining child support. In addition to the income of the parents, the family’s standard of living is also considered. The child custody arrangement is another component that is important in the determination. However, in this case the guidelines cannot be used since they only go up to $175,000.

How this case will be decided remains to be seen. We will provide updates as they become available.

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