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How the cost of raising a child impacts child support

Many Kentucky parents rely on financial payments from their child’s other parent to provide care. Child support payments are determined by several factors, but the one constant is how expensive it can be to raise a child. The United States Department of Agriculture recently published its findings on the matter, which show that, as a family’s income increases, so too does spending on children. This can have a significant impact on the determination of child support and shows just how devastating it can be for a custodial parent to not receive payments.

The USDA’s analysis showed that it costs more than $233,000 to raise a child to age 18. That amount includes food, shelter and other necessary expenses, but doesn’t include post-secondary education. If the figure accounted for inflation, that number goes even higher, to more than $284,000.

All this data shows just how crucial child support may be to raising a child. Two parents in different households have to pay for separate expenses that they would otherwise share, so missing a payment can have a significant and detrimental impact upon a child’s well-being. Furthermore, the expenses needed to raise a child increase over time, so the amount of child support paid at the start of an agreement may not be enough after a few years.

The state of Kentucky uses the Income Shares Model to determine child support. This means a court will consider the income of both parents when deciding on payments, as the court assumes that a certain percentage of income is dedicated to childcare, whether the parents are married or not. Other factors come into play, but this is a large component.

Both children and their custodial parents benefit from regular, ongoing child support payments. For Kentucky families who want to create or change an agreement, it is important that the best interests of the children are kept front and center. One effective way to accomplish that goal is by working with a skilled family law attorney who can advocate for an agreement that is fair to all involved.