Indiana Divorce FAQ’s – Child Support

This is about child support in Indiana after divorce, including how child support gets figured, how parents can change child support, when the court orders for child support to be withheld from paychecks, and when the court will deviate from child support guidelines in Indiana.

This information is from Lisa Garcia Reger, the DivorceInfo Network Lawyer for Indiana. Click here to visit her firm’s web site.

How does child support get figured?

Child support is figured by applying the Indiana Child Support Guidelines. The Indiana Child Support Guidelines are based upon the income shares model. This model is based on the premise that children should receive the same proportion of parental income after a dissolution that they would’ve received if the family had remained intact. This formula apportions the cost of children between the parents based upon their means. In applying the Indiana Child Support Guidelines, the gross income of both parties is added together with certain adjustments. A percentage share of the income is then determined. Work-related childcare expenses are deducted from the parent’s combined income. After subtracting the work-related childcare expense, the total is compared with the Indiana guideline schedules for weekly support payments to determine the total cost of supporting a child or children. Then the work-related childcare expense and weekly cost of health insurance premiums are added back to the child support obligation. That amount is then pro-rated between the parents based on their percentage of weekly adjusted income. If the payor pays health insurance on behalf of the child the payor is entitled to a credit for the weekly amount paid on behalf of the child. The payor may also be entitled to a 10% reduction in his or her support amount for reasonable visitation.

Unlike many States, Indiana has a provision for educational support. Also, in the State of Indiana, child support continues to the age of 21 unless the child becomes emancipated prior to that date or the child is incapacitated. A child may be deemed emancipated before his or her 21st birthday if the child is at least 18 years of age, has not attended a secondary or post-secondary school for the prior four months and is not enrolled in a secondary or post-secondary school and is or is capable of supporting himself through employment. A child under the age of 21 may also be deemed emancipated if the Court finds that the child has joined the United States Armed Services or has married or is not under the care or control of either parent or an individual or agency approved by the Court.

How do you change child support?

Child support may be modified by filing a petition with the court showing a change of circumstances so substantial and continuing as to make the terms of the current support order unreasonable or upon showing that a party’s been ordered to pay child support in an amount that differs by more than 20% from the amount that would be ordered by applying the child support guidelines and the order requested to be modified or revoked was issued at least 12 months before the petition requesting modification was filed.

Does child support get deducted from the payor’s paycheck? How?

Child support is not automatically required to be deducted from an obligor’s paycheck. If an obligor has become delinquent in his child support payments, the person receiving the support may request the court to enforce the child support order by requesting an assignment of wages or other income, among other remedies available, for the enforcement of child support.

When will the court allow a deviation from the guidelines?

If the Court determines that the guideline amount is unfair or unjust, the court may deviate from the guideline amount by making a written finding indicating the court’s reason for deviating from the guidelines. The commentary to the Indiana Child Support Guidelines provide a list of examples for situations in which a court may deviate from the guidelines. Those reasons include, but are not limited to, the following: one or both parties pay union dues as a condition of employment; a party provides support for an elderly parent; the non-custodial parent purchases school clothes; the non- custodial parent has extraordinary medical expenses for himself or herself; both parents are members of the Armed Forces and the military provides housing; the children spend substantially more time with the non-custodial parent than in the average case; the obligor is still making periodic payments to a former spouse pursuant to a prior dissolution decree; one of the parties is required to travel an unusually long distance in the course of employment on a regular or daily basis and incurs an unusually large expense for such travel; and the custodial or non-custodial parent incurred significant travel expenses in exercising visitation.

Other issues in Indiana: