KRS 403.211 tells us the guideline amount creates a “rebuttable presumption” as to child support. It goes on to say that a judge can deviate from the guideline amount where their application would be unjust or inappropriate. The language of the statute seems to contemplate deviation in "extraordinary" situations, and the statute says that the judge gets to decide what is “extraordinary” in his or her discretion.
Specific findings are required for any deviation, and it has to be based on one of the following criteria:
(a) A child's extraordinary medical or dental needs;
(b) A child's extraordinary educational, job training, or special needs;
(c) Either parent's own extraordinary needs, such as medical expenses;
(d) The independent financial resources, if any, of the child or children;
(e) Combined monthly adjusted parental gross income in excess of the Kentucky child support guidelines;
(f) The parents of the child, having demonstrated knowledge of the amount of child support established by the Kentucky child support guidelines, have agreed to child support different from the guideline amount. However, no such agreement shall be the basis of any deviation if public assistance is being paid on behalf of a child under the provisions of Part D of Title IV of the Federal Social Security Act; and
(g) Any similar factor of an extraordinary nature specifically identified by the court which would make application of the guidelines inappropriate.
The most common deviation I saw as a judge was when the parties had agreed to an amount of child support different from the guideline amount. It is important to note that the parties must acknowledge an understanding of the guideline amount in order to qualify for this deviation, so a worksheet, with accurate information as to the parties' gross income, will still be required.
We will talk specifically in Lesson 12 about the deviation when the parties have combined monthly gross income that exceeds $15,000 per month.
I can tell you from experience that unless the parties have combined monthly gross income of more than $15,000 per month, deviation from the guidelines is pretty rare unless the parties can demonstrate an understanding of what the guidelines would call for and they have agreed to a deviation.
Now you know a little bit about deviation from the child support guidelines – have a great day!