Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Child Support FAQ

What is the Purpose of Child Support? Providing Financial Support to Children

When a child is born out of wedlock, or has divorced parents, he or she is entitled to receive financial support. The amount of support to be paid is based upon the Indiana Child Support Guidelines. Both parents are responsible for contributing to the support and care of their child. However, only the non-custodial parent will be responsible for child support payments, which is typically withheld from his or her paycheck and sent to the Clerk’s Office, Child Support Division, of the County where the support order was entered.

Determining Child Support:

When assessing child support, the Court will take into account both parents’ gross income by reviewing recent weekly/biweekly pay stubs, employer statements, or receipts and expenses if self-employed. Documentation of income may also be supplemented with copies of tax returns. If one of the parties in unemployed, the Court will often impute income to that parent based upon their earning power.

Living expenses, such as mortgage, car payment and insurance, are not taken into account when child support is assessed. However, additional key factors will be considered, thereby reducing your gross income, such as the following factors:

  • Child support payments for other children, either Court ordered or under a legal duty.
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  • Spousal Maintenance
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  • Health insurance premiums for the child’s portion of health insurance.
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  • Work related child care expenses.
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  • Credit for maintaining regular visitation with the child.

How Long Do You Have to Pay Child Support?

In Indiana, child support continues until the child reaches the age of twenty-one, unless the child is emancipated prior to that time. A child may be emancipated by the Court if the child is at least 18 years old, has been out of school for at least four months, and is either employed or capable of employment. The Court may find the child emancipated for other reasons, such as the child joining the armed services, getting legally married, or being out of the care and control of both parents. In addition, the Court can enter an educational support order, whereby support for educational expenses continues for a child enrolled full time in post-secondary education.

When and Why Can a Child Support Change?

If you were ordered to pay child support, and then due to a change in circumstances become the custodial parent, the Court should be advised at once so an order changing custody can be entered. The Court will, as a part of the order changing custody, order the non-custodial parent to pay support and terminate your support obligation.

You always have the right to request an assessment of your child support account. You can also petition the Court for a modification of child support if there has been a change in circumstances that makes the current support order unjust, or if twelve months have passed since the last support order and the proposed amount of the support obligation, as determined by the Indiana Child Support Guidelines, compared to the ordered support obligation has changed by 20 percent or more.

What If There is No Payment or Late Payments?

When a person fails to pay Court ordered support, the payor may be found in contempt of Court. In such instances, the Court may impose jail time. Additionally, if the Court finds you in contempt, it may order you to pay attorneys fees and costs associated with bringing the action for contempt. You can also expect an income withholding order that garnishes the child support payment directly from your pay. The law allows for taking 60% of your pay for child support.

The payor may also lose their driver's license or a professional license.

Additionally, if child support enforcement prosecutor represents the payee, any refund from a tax return you are eligible to receive is subject to interception to reduce the amount of the arrearage.

If you are wanting more information on child support, follow the link below to more articles on child support (especially FAQ page for child support). If you need an Indiana lawyer for your child support case, give me a call.


Anonymous said...

does the law say the child has to be a fulltime student or a student in post secondary ed. for support to continue.

Sam Hasler said...

See this:

Lisa said...

My 17 year old son just got his girlfriend pregnant. He currently lives with his dad and I pay child support and provide health care benefits. He is wanting to move in with his girlfriend who is 20. If this happens do I still pay child support to the father or do I pay to his girlfriend or does it just end?

Sam Hasler said...

I am not sure why Lisa thinks that she ought to pay child support to her son's girlfriend. My own opinion is that it is because either Lisa had no attorney to educate her about her child support obligations or that she had an attorney who did not think that it was the attorney's obligation to instruct her or the attorney did and Lisa forgot. Hopefully, this blog helps educate.

A child support payment is due only to the other parent. No one else was there at conception and no else has any obligation to the child. Therein lies the all the ideas behind child support.

As for the legal question Lisa asks, she missed the disclaimer where it says this blog is not about answering specific legal questions. The only thing I can suggest is get an attorney.

For my readers, remember that there are many more articles on this blog on this and other subjects. Down the right hand side of your screen are my archives of older articles by subject. You can also click on the link below next to the word "Label". As of today (8/21/09), there are 1,364 posts on this blog. Tomorrow there will be more. Although you may think that one article will answer your question, I think you need to read more so as not to miss the details. The devil is in the details.

I also suggest that you subscribe to the e-mail alerts. This is best if you want to keep up with the information provided on this blog. It is free, creates no obligation on you or me, and there is a link to the subscription service on the right hand side of the blog.

Anonymous said...

I have a court order for my son's dad to pay current and also back owed support. No garnishment order yet. He is mostly paying the weekly current amount but not the back owed amount. Seems like he never gets in trouble. Would he get in more trouble / more consequences in Johnson County vs Marion County?

Sam Hasler said...

Anonymous (the last one), courts do nothing about enforcing a court's order that is the responsibility of the parties. Your ex does not have a garnishment order because you have not asked the court for one. If you are not getting your support, you need to hire a lawyer.

I have article son the subject archived under Enforcement and Contempt. Anyone else wondering how to get a court order enforced needs to give a look at these categories.