Thursday, April 3, 2008

Parenting Time and Child Support

Someone asked me about why increasing parenting time decreased child support. The simple answer is that the system is designed to do this.

To understand how the system works you need to read Indiana's Child Support Rules And Guidelines. You will miss this if you go no further than the online Indiana Child Support Calculator. The calculator will give you the numbers without explaining how it arrived at those numbers.

The Guidelines have a long explanation of the parenting time credit but this paragraph explains how the credit applies to calculating child support:

The Guideline support schedules do not reflect the fact, however, when both parents exercise parenting time, out-of-pocket expenses will be incurred for the child(ren)’s care. These expenses were recognized previously by the application of a 10% visitation credit and a 50% abatement of child support during periods of extended visitation. The visitation credit was based on the regular exercise of alternate weekend visitation which is equivalent to approximately 14% of the annual overnights. With the adoption of the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines, the noncustodial parent’s share of parenting time, if exercised, is equivalent to approximately 27% of the annual overnights. As a result, these revisions provide a parenting credit based upon the number of overnights with the noncustodial parent ranging from 52 overnights annually to equal parenting time. As parenting time increases, a proportionally larger increase in the credit will occur.

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