How Child Support is Determined in Indiana
Child support is a payment from one parent to the other, usually the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent, to help cover the cost of their child’s care, education and basic expenses involved in raising a child.
In Indiana, child support orders are based on the Indiana Child Support Guidelines. These guidelines were drafted to help ensure that the children are cared for under the same or similar economic circumstances as they enjoyed before the marriage was dissolved.
Payment of Child Support
Once ordered, child support must be paid until the child reaches the age of 19 and unless the child is emancipated. It is in the best interests of the child that he or she should rightfully be financially supported by both the parents.
The Amount of Child Support is Based on a Number of Factors
- The needs of the child
- Weekly gross income of each parent
- The child’s standard of living before the divorce
- Any special needs that the child may have
- Parenting time of the noncustodial parent
- Health insurance costs
If you are going through a divorce, or wish to enforce a child support order, you should seek the advice of a knowledgeable and experienced family law attorney to help you in your child support case. Schedule an appointment with us today.
Child Custody and Support
Parenting time can actually become a key determinant in the amount of the child support order. The noncustodial parent is typically the parent paying child support. However, a noncustodial parent who is with the children 40% of the time will normally pay a smaller percentage of his or her income in child support than a noncustodial parent who is with the children 20% of the time.
Modification of Child Support Orders
Once child support is ordered by the court, the only way to modify the order is to file a petition with the court. A modification agreement – privately entered into by the parents – that has not been approved by the court will not be recognized as legally valid. However, there are few exceptions to this rule.
Generally, child support orders will only be modified in cases of a substantial change in circumstances of one of the parties. A drastic and ongoing decrease or increase in the payers or payee’s income would be a valid ground for modifying the child support order.
Child support obligations cannot be retroactively modified, so it is important to file a petition for modification immediately if you experience a significant decrease in income or have lost your job.
Enforcing Child Support Orders
Unfortunately, failure to pay child support has become all too common. To address this issue, Indiana has implemented several legal tools to help custodial parents enforce their child support orders.
Often, the best way for a court to ensure compliance with a child support order is to issue an income withholding order, which requires the payer’s employer to deduct child support directly from his or her paycheck.
In cases where the payer intentionally quits a job to avoid an income withholding order, the court may hold the delinquent parent in contempt of court and order the party to perform community service and to actively seek employment or risk fines and/or jail time. If your ex-spouse has failed to pay child support, contact a family law attorney to explore all legal remedies available to you..