Monday, May 5, 2008

Indiana Law on Expenses for child's education and health care

One needs to start at Indiana Code 31-16-6 for Indiana's law on parental obligations to pay for a child's education:

"IC 31-16-6-2 (a) The child support order or an educational support order may also include, where appropriate:
(1) amounts for the child's education in elementary and secondary schools and at postsecondary educational institutions, taking into account:
(A) the child's aptitude and ability;
(B) the child's reasonable ability to contribute to educational expenses through: (i) work; (ii) obtaining loans; and (iii) obtaining other sources of financial aid reasonably available to the child and each parent; and
C) the ability of each parent to meet these expenses;

(b) If the court orders support for a child's educational expenses at a postsecondary educational institution under subsection (a), the court shall reduce other child support for that child that:
(1) is duplicated by the educational support order; and
(2) would otherwise be paid to the custodial parent.
Then there is the case law to consider. The following hits only the high points:
  1. Scott Butterfield v. Jane (Butterfield) Constantine (Pdf format). Footnote 3 on page 4 notes that (a)(1)(B) allows but does not mandate taking into account the child's contributions. The Court of Appeal correctly reads the statute while the Child Support Guidelines creates a bit of confusion. Why the difference? One is the law and the other commentary on the law.
    The impact of an award of post‑secondary educational expenses is substantial upon the custodial and non‑custodial parent and a reduction of the basic child support obligation attributable to the child in question will be required when the child resides on campus or otherwise is not with the custodial parent.
  2. McKay v. McKay, 644 N.E.2d 164, 168 (1994) remains good law on the issue of terminating child support obligations when an adult child repudiates the parent-child relationship.
  3. Karen Vagenas v. William Vagenas (Pdf format). On the issue of child support when there is an order for educational expenses and about the ability to modify the order for educational expenses. I have a fuller discussion of this case here.
  4. Ronald Hensley v. Melissa Hensley (Pdf format). Interesting for our discussion here because the Court of Appeals examines the income and expenses of the parties to find that the educational benefits order was excessive.
  5. Cubel v. Cubel (Pdf format). This case deals with the medical insurance obligation for a child in college. I have written more about Cubel here.

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