Common Questions about Indiana Child Support
Indiana child support is an ongoing, court-ordered financial obligation that one parent must provide to the other parent for the care of their children following legal separation or divorce. The goal of child support is simply to ensure that the child’s financial condition is the same post-divorce or separation as it was when their parents were still together. In most situations, the non-custodial parent is responsible for providing the child support payments, which can be made in a variety of ways, as explained later in this article. However, in the event that a noncustodial parent is not able to keep up with a child support obligation, it becomes past due, and the parent can be charged interest on the missed payments at a rate of 8% per annum.
Wondering “how does child support work in Indiana?” Not sure how to navigate the child support guidelines or how to modify child support? The Indiana family law attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer can help. Our team understands the many nuances of Indiana child support laws, as well as the dynamics and politics of litigating family law cases. Call us at 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to speak with an Indiana child support lawyer today.
What is Indiana Child Support?
Indiana Code 31-16-6-1 defines child support orders as an action in which the court may order either parent or both parents to pay any amount reasonable for support of a child/children, without regard to marital misconduct, after considering all relevant factors*. These orders are most often made once a divorce proceeding has been initiated and then once again in the final divorce decree and judgment.
Child support is intended to cover the basic costs of supporting the child/children. Basic costs can include housing, food, clothing, educational expenses, work-related childcare costs, insurance premiums, etc. In addition, extraordinary costs – such as emergency medical costs or extracurricular fees – may be factored into child support as well. However, these can be divided between the parents, often in proportion with each parent’s weekly income.
How Does Child Support Work in Indiana?
When a court makes a child support order, they determine who must pay child support and to what extent by using the child support formula contained within the Indiana Child Support Rules and Guidelines. The child support calculation considers the following factors:
- The number of the parties’ children
- Each parent’s gross income
- Each parent’s child support obligations to other children
- Spousal maintenance obligations
- Work-related childcare costs
- Health insurance premiums for the children
- Post-secondary educational expenses, if applicable
- The number of parenting time overnights allocated to each parent
Based on the costs or numbers associated with each of the items above, the amount of child support is determined by reference to the Guideline Schedules for Weekly Support Payments and then making a final calculation using the Indiana Child Support Worksheet. The final calculation of child support in Indiana computes the total amount required to support the parties’ child or children and allocates each parent’s child support obligation based on his or her proportionate gross income and child-related expenses paid.
If you would like to see an estimate of what your weekly child support payment could be, try using the Child Support Calculator. You’ll need to answer some questions about your children, income, parenting time, health care and other costs, but the calculator can provide you with an estimate, save your calculations for later use, easily share your calculations with other parties, and if needed, produce forms for use in court.
What Happens When There is a Disagreement Over Child Support?
Although the Child Support Obligation Guidelines may provide some stability in a contentious divorce, parties may continue to disagree about certain variables, such as what constitutes income includable in child support calculations. In circumstances such as this, it’s important to retain an attorney with extensive experience in Indiana family law who can help you accurately identify income that should be included in child support calculations – for both parents – and ultimately craft an argument that is in your favor.
After the child support calculations have been made final, parents may disagree about whether child support has been paid as ordered. In this scenario, a family law attorney can help you understand your options regarding documenting support payments and how to make sure the custodial parent is using the child support resources appropriately. If you feel that the funds are being used for purposes beyond providing support for the child/children, a skilled family law attorney can assist you in holding the custodial parent accountable using contempt proceedings.
How Long Does Child Support Last in Indiana?
Once a child support order has been made by the court, that order shall be in effect until the child is 19 years old or graduates from high school, whichever comes first. However, the termination of child support requires a court order and whether it’s granted will depend on your specific circumstances. In some cases, child support can be extended past the child’s 19th birthday to their 21st birthday, if an educational support request has been filed prior to the child coming of age.
Indiana child support obligations may end prior to a child turning 19 or graduating high school, but only if the child is emancipated under Indiana Code § 31-16-6-6, or the obligation has been terminated “by operation of the law,” once the child is 18, has not been in school for four months and is capable of employment.
If you are unsure about when a child support order can be terminated, or find yourself in disagreement with the other parent, feel free to call the Indianapolis child support lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP. By planning ahead and working with our experienced Indiana family law attorneys, you can be sure that the child support obligation in your case ends exactly when it should. Call us at 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to speak with an Indiana child support lawyer today.
Can You Modify an Indiana Child Support Order?
Although your weekly payments of Indiana child support may comply with the law and the Indiana Child Support Guidelines Schedule when first ordered, your income and expenses will most likely change over time. In situations like these, where significant changes have occurred in either your life or the life of your former spouse, you may want to modify the Indiana child support order. In general, modifications can only take place if the current order is at least 12 months old and the requested modification is at least 20% of the current order. Alternatively, a party can petition the court for change to an Indiana child support order earlier than 12 months, however they must demonstrate that the change is significant and ongoing, and renders the current Indiana child support unreasonable.
Changes that May Cause One to Modify an Indiana Child Support Order:
- Loss of employment
- Health complications
- Remarriage of the custodial parent
- Cost of living increased
- Custody arrangement has been altered
- Child has been emancipated
If your former partner is arguing that your promotion or his or her loss of employment warrants an immediate increase in child support, then you’ll need experienced Indianapolis child support lawyer to help the court examine the circumstances and whether it’s appropriate to modify the Indiana child support order.
How Do You Make Child Support Payments in Indiana?
Indiana child support payments can be made in a variety of ways. The most common Indiana child support payment method is by paying online via credit or debit card via ChildSupportBillPay.com. Although this method requires a convenience fee of 2.25% and some background information, such as your social security number and Indiana Child Support Case Number, it is an easy and convenient way to make a payment.
Non-custodial parent child support payments can also be made by writing a check, money order, cashier’s check or certified check to the Indiana State Central Collection Unit at PO Box 7130, Indianapolis, Indiana 46207-7130. This method is simple and straightforward, but you include vital information such as your ISETS case number, name, address, phone number, last four digits of your social security number, and the court cause number.
If you would like to pay in cash, you can do so at the County Clerk’s office. The Clerk’s office will make a record of the payment and forward the money to the custodial parent. Cash payments can also be made at one of the thousands of PayNearMe locations, which include stores like CVS and Family Dollar. However, there is a $1.99 fee for each transaction, and the payments take three days to process. Similarly, you make cash payments through MoneyGram as well, which is available at locations like Walmart and Kroger. The transaction fee for MoneyGram is $3.99 and the payments take three days to process. Please check with each payment vendor to ensure their fees have not changed.
Finally, the non-custodial parent can pay the custodial parent directly. However, this is not often recommended by Indiana family law attorneys since if a dispute arises down the road there may be no proof of payment.
Need Help Understanding Indiana Child Support?
While Indiana child support may seem like a simple concept, it is actually quite complex and it’s certainly not a do-it-yourself venture. If you have children and are in the process of getting divorced or legally separated, you’ll need to hire an experienced child support lawyer to understand how child support works in Indiana. The well-versed legal team of family lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP understand just how stressful divorce, custody, and child support proceedings can be. As seasoned, reputable litigators, we have the resources and insight to capably handle your child support matter and a wide range of other divorce-related matters, from the straightforward to the most complex. Call us at 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to speak with an Indiana child support lawyer today.