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Child Support

Indianapolis Child Support Attorneys

Child Support Payments & Child Support Order Modification

Child support often is one of the most hotly debated issues in divorce and paternity actions in Indiana. Understanding the rules behind a child support calculation can help parents reach an agreement on the amount of child support that should be paid under the circumstances.

Parents have a legal duty to support their children, and Indiana has adopted state-wide Child Support Guidelines (“Guidelines”) to establish a parent’s level of support. A parent has a duty to support his child until the child is nineteen (19) years old, or is emancipated, whichever comes first.

Indiana Child Support Guidelines

The Guidelines use an “income shares model” that is designed to provide a child with the same proportion of parental income that he or she would have received if the parents had remained living together. Child support in Indiana is determined by considering the relative percentage of each parent’s gross income and the number and ages of children in a parent’s household. Other factors, such as work-related childcare expenses and health insurance premiums for children, also are considered.

For purposes of the Guidelines, “gross income” is construed broadly, and generally consists of all income, including salaries, wages, commissions, bonuses, overtime, dividends, severance pay, pension, interest, trust income, annuities, capital gains, social security benefit, workmen’s compensation benefits, unemployment compensation, disability, gifts, prizes, alimony and maintenance from prior marriages.

In addition to it, parents should consider expenses such as activities, sports and equipment, lessons, camp, tutoring, prom expenses, graduations expenses, automobile expenses and the like. Such expenses typically fall outside of a parent’s basic support obligation.

A court in Indiana also may order a parent to pay a reasonable amount for a child’s post-secondary education expenses. In making an order for education expenses, a court will consider the child’s aptitude for higher education, the child’s ability to contribute to the expenses, and the parents’ ability to contribute. The Court may require the child to maintain a specific grade point average to receive continued educational support from his parents.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation about child support in Central  Indiana!

The divorce and family law, attorneys at Broyles Kight & Ricafort, P.C. have represented parents seeking to establish child support orders, enforce child support orders, and modify child support orders because of a change in financial circumstances. Regardless of the circumstance, we are prepared to guide you through the laws and regulations governing the support of a child in Indiana. To schedule a consultation with one of BKR’s experienced family law attorneys in Indianapolis, Indiana, call 317-571-3601.

Our attorneys provide legal advice and representation to clients throughout Indiana, including: Marion County (Indianapolis,); Johnson County (Greenwood, Franklin); Hamilton County (Carmel, Noblesville); Boone County (Lebanon, Zionsville); Hendricks County (Danville, Avon); Madison County (Anderson); and Wayne County (Richmond).

Indianapolis Child Support FAQs

How does a judge determine the amount and duration of child support?

In terms of amount, Indiana uses what is called the “income shares model” where the gross incomes of both parents are used to calculate a child support amount. These guidelines tell us what will be included in gross income.

What are the Indiana Child Support Guidelines?

The Indiana Child Support Rules and Guidelines are drafted by a committee and approved by Indiana’s Supreme Court. The guidelines are instructive for a party to look at to see what sort of income may or may not be included for the purposes of calculating that parent’s child support. They are also helpful to review to understand how Indiana calculates child support.

Can the amount and duration of child support be changed in Indiana?

In Indiana, child support is typically ordered through a child’s 19th birthday. Once an order is issued, it remains in effect until the court modifies or terminates it.

Can the child support orders be modified in Indiana?

Child support orders may be modified if there is a change in circumstances rendering the current order unreasonable. Child support orders may also be modified if at least 12 months have passed since the prior order and there is at least a 20% change in the resulting obligation.

Can withholding visitation impact on child support payments?

Child support and parenting time are not mutually exclusive. In other words, if a parent with an obligation to pay child support fails to do so, the other parent may not withhold parenting time. Likewise, if a parent is entitled to parenting time but is not permitted to see the child, the parent may not withhold support payments.

Is the failure to pay child support punishable?

Failure to pay child support as ordered and failure to permit parenting time when ordered is punishable by contempt, which means that not only could the offending parent have to pay attorney fees for the other parent, but he or she could also be ordered to spend some time in the local jail.

How is child support determined in the case of a self-employed individual in Indiana?

For a self-employed individual in Indiana, the court will more carefully review the income and watch out for any unnecessary deductions. Typically, actual expenses are permitted as deductions, but things like reimbursed meals or a company car would not be deducted from your gross income. In order for the Judge to review your income for child support, you would present your W-2, K-1, tax return, or pay stub, whichever may be appropriate.

Are there any protections available in seeking child support modification orders in Indiana?

Indiana law does have some protections to prevent a party from seeking modifications regularly, so one party can’t keep taking the other party to court. Modifications cannot occur any sooner than one year since the last modification. Also, the Court may deny modifying the support order if the change from the old support order to the new order would be less than 20%.

Is child support modifiable in Indiana?

Child support in Indiana is modifiable as a matter of law. What that means is that if you can show a continuing change of circumstances, the court can modify a prior support order if certain standards are met. For example, if your spouse receives a promotion and his or her income has increased, that sort of continuing change may warrant a modification of support. Similarly, if you lose your job, it may also warrant a modification of support.

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