Saturday, February 24, 2007

Indiana Child Support: What if both parents move from the county?

You petition the court to transfer the case to the county where the child now lives. The statute applies to divorce cases, support cases, legal separation and paternity cases. The three requirements are: 1) custodial parent moves to another county; 2) non-custodial parent lives in another county or cannot be otherwise found; and 3) the custodial parent petitions the court which entered the order for support for a transfer.

After filing the petition, notice and a hearing are required by the statute. While the statute uses "may" in describing the original court's power to transfer the case, I cannot think of a good reason for not transferring a case. The custodial parent pays a new court cost to the receiving court and that is all - except collecting the child support.

The custodial parent can transfer a case as often as necessary for the child's best interests.

In the old days, a certain firm would file divorces in Marion County even though the parties lived in Madison County or elsewhere. These divorces included those with children. This firm marketed to those seeking an expensive divorce. What was inexpensive for some was anything but inexpensive for those with children. In many, many ways this created a headache for everyone. Getting the case back into a county where enforcing the support order could be efficiently enforced was cumbersome. This statute may have been a reaction to this kind of scenario, but it also makes life easier for those moving from Anderson to Evansville or from New Albany to Gary or Fort Wayne to Lafayette.

One last point, the statute does not require a hearing if both parties file a joint petition. A rather easy way to lower the costs for the parents.

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