Parents have certain rights and responsibilities for their children, including ensuring that their emotional and physical needs are met. When parents separate, they must continue to work together to ensure that happens.
Most child custody arrangements result in one parent becoming the custodial parent, which means that their child will live with them for the majority of the time while the other parent is granted visitation. The non-custodial parent is usually required to pay child support to the other to cover the basic needs of the child. Child support is designed to ensure that both parents are contributing equally to the financial costs of their child’s upbringing.
Unfortunately, it is common for the subject of child support to become a hotly debated issue, especially for divorcing parents. Therefore, it is a good idea to have support and guidance from an Indianapolis family law attorney who can help guide you and ensure the best possible outcome for your family.
Woodford Sathappan McGee is a family law firm in Indiana and Ohio that exclusively represents women. We are highly attuned to the needs of women and their children; our goal is to empower them with knowledge of their rights and to guide them through family law matters so that they can move forward to the next stages of their life in confidence.
An Indiana child support lawyer will help you secure a fair agreement that is representative of the needs of your child. We will ensure that all of your spouse’s assets are considered, and if your case justifies a deviation from state guidelines, then we will help you evidence this to the Judge.
Once a child support order has been issued, it becomes legally binding. Therefore, it is important you can look back with the knowledge that you did everything you could to protect your child’s best interests.
Alternatively, if your current child support order is insufficient to meet your child’s needs and you believe you deserve more, then we can assess your case in a free consultation to determine whether you could be eligible for a modification. If you are, we will help you secure what you are owed.
Or, if your ex-spouse is repeatedly missing payments, then we can help with child support enforcement. Child support payments never disappear, meaning you are owed back payments for all missed child support.
Utilizing a holistic model that includes mediation where possible while always being prepared to use litigation to fight for your rights in front of a Judge, we will provide fierce representation while doing everything possible to foster healthy relationships.
Arrange a free consultation with a child support attorney for women at 380-212-3731.
Child support payments help the custodial parent meet their child’s financial needs. A child support payment can be used to help provide shelter, food, education, toys, and medical bills. Indiana law does not specify what it should be used for, so long as it is being used to meet the child’s needs and not any luxurious items or things that do not relate to the child.
It is beneficial to know some legal terms in relation to child support:
Obligee: The person receiving child support payments.
Obligor: The person paying child support payments.
It is possible to use mediation with the help of a child custody lawyer to come to a child support agreement, which will then need to be approved by a Judge. If parents cannot come to an agreement, then the Judge will make a ruling on the parent’s behalf. However, the Judge will expect parents to at least try to come to an agreement amicably. Once a court order has been issued, it becomes legally binding.
A child support hearing is necessary when parents cannot agree on the terms of the child support order. During the hearing, the Judge will consider the child’s best interests and determine what they believe to be fair and reasonable.
The Judge will utilize information regarding the parent’s income, how much time they spend with the child, and whether the child has any special needs that need to be accounted for. Each parent may have their own family law attorney advocating for their interests.
During a child support hearing, both parents will be asked questions, and the answers will be used to help determine the agreement. Although the specific questions can vary depending on the Judge, there are general things that the Judge will want to know, such as:
The Judge will need to know about your regular outgoings and expenses, and they will require comprehensive documentation to evidence your finances. Your child support attorney can help ensure that you have everything you need such as evidence of your mortgage payments, monthly bills and loan payments, and any other significant living costs that must be disclosed.
Some questions the Judge may ask include:
Family law courts are required to make decisions based on the child’s best interests. In order to do that, they need to know about the child’s needs, and it is essential that parents answer as accurately as possible.
The Judge will want to know about each parent’s assets and income. It is important to be upfront and honest with the judge about your income, assets, and debts. Child support payments are based on potential earnings, and so actual income and the ability of each spouse to earn are considered. The Judge may ask questions such as:
In Indiana, the cost of medical and dental care is a part of the overall child support order. One or both parents are required to provide health care insurance if it is available at a reasonable cost. The law states that the cost is reasonable if it does not exceed 6% of the gross weekly income of the parent who pays child support. If medical coverage is unaffordable, then parents are required to pay cash for medical support.
In Indiana, child support obligation automatically ends when the child turns 19, unless the child is incapacitated, in which case the parent must continue to pay support until a court order ends the obligation. Incapacitated is the legal term for having a medically disabling condition that results in someone being unable to be self-sufficient.
A child support order may end before a child turns 19 if they marry, are no longer under the care of a parent or court-authorized agency, or if they go on active duty with the U.S. Military.
The court may choose to end a child support obligation (but is not required to), if all the statements below are true:
A child support order is a legal obligation. Therefore it is essential that your agreement is fair and reasonable. If the obligor misses payments, then the money they owe will continue to accumulate and is subject to interest. Even if the obligor is successful in securing a modification, it will not affect the value of back payments.
There are a number of ways that child support payments can be enforced, for example:
If you are having trouble collecting child support, then you should speak to a child support attorney as soon as possible. It is important that you follow proper legal protocol to secure what you are owed. Your child deserves financial support, and the obligor has a duty to meet child support obligations.
Although child support orders are legally binding, the law also recognizes that circumstances change, and sometimes it is necessary for an order to be modified.
If you are the custodial parent and believe that the obligor is not paying enough or are the noncustodial parent and you can’t afford your existing obligation, then you can file for a modification.
In order to secure a successful modification, you need to prove that either:
Many women navigating family law issues have never needed an attorney before, which can make looking at law firms feel overwhelming.
Family law is largely dictated by state law, so it is good to find a local law firm. If you do, then it is also likely that your attorney will know the Judge overseeing your case and can use this to tailor their approach to your case.
It is also a good sign if a law firm has a narrow focus, such as family and divorce law. This means that they will help people in similar situations to you every day and will be well-equipped to handle your case.
It is important that family law matters are dealt with using mediation where possible. Mediation saves time and money and helps to protect important relationships. Therefore, you should look for an attorney who is a trained mediator. They should also be skilled in litigation so that they will be prepared to take your case to court if needed. If your ex-spouse finds an attorney who is a skilled litigator and you do not, then it could leave you in a vulnerable position.
You should feel supported throughout your case and should feel able to speak openly with your attorney without the fear of judgment. Although the best child support lawyers will have a full caseload, they should still be accessible and prompt to answer your questions.
At Woodford Sathappan McGee, we believe that our narrow focus – helping women to navigate family law matters in Indiana and Ohio, gives us a unique advantage. We are proud of the level of support we are able to offer women and are dedicated to keeping them informed about their rights and the progress of their case. We are trained mediators and litigators and are able to handle even the most complex situations, including those involving complex assets, high-conflict custody battles, cross-country parenting, and more.
Many family law firms offer free consultation, which is an opportunity for you to ask questions and get an idea of your potential attorney’s level of experience and suitability to navigate your case. It is also an opportunity for you to decide if you like your attorney and feel comfortable working with them.
Before you arrange a free consultation, it can be beneficial to be prepared with some questions. For example:
Regardless of where the paying parent lives, they are still required to pay child support. If they miss payments, then the Child Support Division can use federal law to seek support from other state enforcement agencies to collect what they owe.
You can collect child support in a number of ways, including direct deposit, electronic payments, bank checks, or a direct deduction from their salary.
A child support order will not automatically change as the Judge is not responsible for monitoring changes. If the obligor loses their job, then they or should apply for a modification and must continue to meet the existing order until a modification is ordered. On the other hand, if they secure a new job with a higher salary, then either parent can file for a modification to increase the child support order.
No, child support and visitation are separate, and visitation cannot be stopped due to missed payments. Missed visitation is considered to be harmful to the child, so the court will find other ways to hold the obligor accountable for missed payments. It is also important that the other parent continues to facilitate visitation regardless of missed child support payments, or the court will not look favorably on them.
Child support matters can be complex and involve important interactions between parents as well as court involvement. Your attorney can help you prepare to answer child support hearing questions and ensure that you have all the documents you need to present evidence.
A child support order can affect the quality of your life and the lives of your children, and so it is important to have the support you need to secure the best outcome.
At Woodford Sathappan McGee, we will take the time to understand what’s important to you so that we can support you in the best way possible. Utilizing a dedication to women, a firm grasp of the law, and creativity, we will guide and support you throughout your child support case.