How is Child Support Determined in Indiana?

Reliable Family Law Attorneys Achieving the Best Results for Mother’s and Their Children

Indiana Child Support Guidelines determine how much the obligated parent is required to pay the other. Each parent’s Weekly Gross Income is the primary consideration, as well as how many children the couple share. If a parent is not currently receiving an income, their potential income can be used in the calculation.

Child support in Indiana may also deviate from state guidelines in cases involving high assets or a child with additional needs. Usually, the noncustodial parent is obligated to pay child support to the other in order to make the costs of bringing up a child more equal.

Family law matters such as child support, child custody, and divorce often create a lot of hostility, and once an order is in place, it places legal obligations on you and your former partner. Therefore, it is essential that you have the support and guidance of an experienced attorney who can help ensure that your rights are protected and that an outcome is reached that prioritizes the best interests of your children.

At Woodford Sathappan McGee, we exclusively represent women in family law matters. Our narrow focus gives us a unique ability to meet women’s needs and the needs of their children. Our goal is for you to transition into a new life with confidence.

Our child support attorneys will help you negotiate with your former partner when possible, and will always be prepared to litigate on your behalf in front of a Judge if necessary.

Regardless of whether you need help to establish a child support order, with backdating payments, modifying an existing order, or securing missing payments, we can help.

We offer a free consultation to all clients, so contact an Indiana child support lawyer today at 380-212-3731.

An Overview of Child Support in Indiana

When parents separate, or even if they were never in a committed relationship, they have certain legal rights and responsibilities towards their children. This includes ensuring that their child’s emotional and financial needs are met.

Before child support can be calculated, it is first necessary to establish a parenting plan. All family law decisions that involve children must be made based on the child’s best interests, and in most cases, that involves creating a shared parenting plan that fosters stability for the child.

Often, one parent takes on the role of the custodial parent, which means that the child’s primary residence is with them, and they spend the most time with their child. The other parent, known as the noncustodial parent, will then be granted visitation rights.

The noncustodial parent is usually required to pay child support to the other in order to make the costs of raising the child more equal. In Indiana, child support is usually paid until the child turns 19.

Child support payments are often essential for the custodial parent to be able to meet their child’s needs. If payments are missed, it can create stress and financial hardship. However, missed child support payments never disappear and must eventually be paid.

How is Child Support Calculated in Indiana?

To calculate child support, the most important factor is each parent’s Weekly Gross Income. Weekly Gross Income will consider all forms of income, including salaries, wages, royalties, benefits, rental income, dividends, commissions, and imputed income, such as the use of a company car.

Once a Weekly Gross Income has been determined, an adjusted weekly income will be calculated, which will consider each parent’s weekly expenses, such as child support to other children and spousal support.

If a parent is not receiving any income or is making less than they could give, then the court may consider their earning potential instead of income. This is to prevent people from trying to avoid paying child support by not working or working in a lower capacity than what they are capable of.

The Indiana Supreme Court has an Indiana Child Support Calculator for parents, which you can find here. However, they caution that this is a tool to give you a rough idea of what a child support order could look like in your case and is not a substitute for seeking the help of an attorney, who will know your local Title IV-D office and family court Judges.

How Much is a Basic Child Support Obligation?

Child support orders vary based on the specific circumstances of your case. When you contact Woodford Sathappan McGee for a free consultation, we can advise you on what a good outcome looks like in your case and how to achieve it.

Generally speaking, the more a parent makes and the more children they have, the more they will be required to pay child support. For example, if a parent’s Weekly Gross Income after other obligations is $1000 a week, then the child support amount could be:

  • One Child – $152 per week.
  • Two Children – $228 per week.
  • Three Children – $285 per week.
  • Four Children – $321 per week.

There are also caps on the amount of child support that a parent can be ordered to pay. Usually, a maximum payment cannot exceed 50% of their adjusted weekly income, regardless of how many children they have.

Medical Care Obligations For Parents in Indiana

Parents are required to ensure that their child’s medical needs are met. As a result, the parent obligated to pay child support must provide medical insurance if it is available at a reasonable cost. The cost of health insurance is considered reasonable if it is 6% or less of the weekly adjusted income. If medical coverage is unaffordable, parents must pay cash for required medical care.

When Does Child Support End in Indiana?

Child support ends when a child is “emancipated by operation of law,” which means they are no longer entitled to financial support from their parents. In Indiana, this happens automatically when a child turns 19.

A child may also be considered emancipated before they turn 19 if:

  • The child is no longer under the care of a parent or court-authorized agency.
  • They go on active duty in the U.S. Military.
  • A parent can also apply to terminate child support if the child is at least 18, has not attended education for four months or more, is not currently enrolled in education, and is financially supporting themselves or has the capability to do so.

A child support order can also continue past the age of 19 under two circumstances. First, the court may extend child support until a child turns 21 if an educational support request is filed before the child turns 19.

Second, if a child is mentally or physically incapacitated, then child support may need to be paid indefinitely or until a court terminates the order. A child could be considered incapacitated if they have a lifelong condition that prevents them from being self-sufficient.

What Can I Do About Missing Child Support Payments?

If you have a child support order in place, it is legally binding. Therefore, if you are missing child support payments, you have a right to take action. At Woodford Sathappan McGee, we believe that most cases should begin with negotiation. We will give the obligated parent an opportunity to establish a payment plan that works for everyone. This helps to protect important family dynamics and could be a quicker and cheaper resolution.

However, if the obligated parent does not cooperate, we will help you take your case to court. The Judge could garnish their wages, seize assets or revoke professional licenses, such as a driver’s license, to ensure compliance. They may also find them in contempt of court, which could result in fines or even a jail sentence.

Can an Existing Child Support Order be Changed in Indiana?

Although a court-issued child support order is legally binding, it can also be modified by the court if your circumstances change. An Indiana child support attorney can help you modify an order if you are an obligated parent who cannot afford payments or a parent who is struggling to meet their child’s needs with the current arrangement.

If both parents agree to the modification, then the process is relatively straightforward. On the other hand, a contested modification may be taken to court. If you are seeking a contested modification, then there are two possible justifications:

  • A Substantial and Material Change in Circumstances – If there has been a substantial or material change in circumstances such as job loss, changing needs of the child, or a new child, then this could justify a modification.
  • Current Guidelines – Another justification is if the amount that would be awarded under current guidelines differs from the existing order by 20% or more and at least three years have passed.

Until a modification has been approved by a Judge, payments must continue in line with the existing order.

How is Child Support Determined in Indiana? FAQ

Child support can be used to pay for anything that contributes to the child’s upbringing, including shelter, toys, food, and clothes. Child support can also contribute to educational costs, such as private schools. However, optional activities such as school trips or summer camps are not included in this, and parents are expected to agree on how these will be paid for.

Child support is commonly established during divorce proceedings. However, if the parents of a child were never married, then it can be enforced as a stand-alone order.

The cost of a family law attorney will depend on the complexity of your case. When you contact our law firm for a free consultation, we will break down our fee structure so you can make an informed decision about your next steps.

If you are pregnant, but you and the child’s father are not together, it is important to know that the father must pay at least 50% of all pregnancy-related costs, including prenatal care, delivery, and postnatal care.

No. Parenting time and child support must be treated separately. If you refuse visitation, you could also be found in contempt of court. We understand how difficult it can be if you are missing child support payments, but the best thing you can do is contact an experienced attorney for help.

Speak to a Child Support Lawyer Dedicated to Women in Indiana Today!

At Woodford Sathappan McGee, we are proud to provide unparalleled support to women navigating family law issues. We believe that our commitment to women and their children allows us to meet their needs so that they can move forward with confidence and security.

We believe that every case should start by empowering women with knowledge of their rights. We will keep you informed and engaged at every stage so that you can make informed decisions that will impact your future.

Utilizing negotiation and litigation, we have the skills, resources, and knowledge necessary to guide you, no matter the complexity of your case.

If you are facing child support issues or any other family law matters, then do not hesitate to arrange a free consultation today.

We are here to help. Call an Indiana child support attorney now at 380-212-3731.