Kentuckians could collect child support for months of pregnancy under advancing bill

Kentucky Lantern

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FRANKFORT — A bill paving the way for Kentuckians to collect child support for fetuses as long as there is an order in place within a year of a child’s birth passed unanimously out of a Senate committee Tuesday. 

Senate Bill 110 would not apply if a child support order was filed when a child was older, said sponsor Sen. Whitney Westerfield, R-Fruit Hill. 

“There’s not a child support order until the child’s eight? This isn’t going to apply,” he explained. “Even a year and a day, this doesn’t apply. It’s only for orders that are in place within a year of the child’s birth.” 

One hurdle facing the bill, Westerfield said, is that county attorneys cannot use federal resources to enforce such a law. He would support the legislature making an appropriation to help fund the enforcement, he said. 

“The support obligation begins as soon as that life begins,” Westerfield said. “And I think we ought to be able to go after that.” 

Chair Sen. Danny Carroll, R-Benton, called the bill a “fundamental fairness issue.” 

“Look at where we are, those of us who are pro life in this room, that’s where life starts,” he said. “And that’s where that obligation to take care of that child should begin.”  

Sen. Cassie Chambers Armstrong, D-Louisville, voted for the bill because “this bill is going to help a lot of folks who have given birth.” 

But, she’d like to see the support categorized as maternity care support instead of child support, she said. 

“I worry about this being a stepping stone to things like in-utero visitation and … the downstream consequences that could arise.” 

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