Wednesday, April 15, 2009

New Indiana Child Support Case: Deviating From The Guidelines (Saalfrank v. Saalfrank)

In Saalfrank v. Saalfrank (PDF format), the trial court made an unusual deviation from the child support guidelines:

Here, the trial court deviated from the Guidelines by concluding that the calculation in this case should not account for Mother‘s two Subsequent Children. As required, the trial court found and stated in writing its reason for deviating from the Guidelines. However, the trial court changed the calculation itself, by not using the multiplier, rather than performing the calculation as specified and then considering deviation.
The Indiana Court of Appeals found this to be error:
While perhaps a technicality, our review reveals no support for deviating from the
precise method of the Guideline calculation. To the contrary, the plain language of Child Support Rule 3 indicates that the trial court should perform the calculation to determine a Recommended Child Support Obligation. Only then should the trial court consider deviation....
Bottom line: follow the methodology of the guidelines and then deviate.

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