Wednesday, December 16, 2009


 While hewing very close to the Indiana Child Support Guidelines, Fayette County has some interesting wrinkles in how its judges handle child support issues in its Local Rule 21-FL00-FL-5 ( CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES).

What I find most intriguing comes in this, the first paragraph of the Local Rule:

In all proceedings involving child support, including any petition to emancipate where there is more than one child, each party shall file with any settlement, or submit to the Court at the time a petition is filed, one or more Indiana Child Support Guidelines worksheets with supporting documentation.  A response Child Support Worksheet with supporting documents shall be provided to the other party or to opposing counsel as the case may be, at least forty-eight (48) hours prior to the provisional hearing, unless reasonable circumstances prevent doing so and then such Child Support Worksheet shall be provided to the other party or opposing counsel at the earliest opportunity. Child Support Worksheets shall be promptly supplemented if changes occur prior to trial. Child Support Worksheets intended to be introduced at trial or final hearing shall be exchanged by the parties or counsel at least seven (7) days prior to trial.
If I understand the first sentence correctly, a Child Support Worksheet is required to be attached to a petition when filed.  How is the moving party to know for certain the other party's income when filing?  If the petition being filed is a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, that information should be readily available.  If the petition is one for modifying support or custody, having accurate income information seems problematic.  Which explains the sentence allowing prompt supplementing before trial.  Assuming the worst but not the utterly worst scenario, Petitioner's counsel will have prepared two versions of the Child Support Worksheet.

With the rush that I have seen in the run up to a provisional hearing, I am not surprised at the escape clause for the 48 exchange prior to a provisional hearing.

All that said, I am wondering at the benefit of having a Child Support Worksheet attached to the petition at time of filing.  It does make sure that the Worksheet is prepared at the earliest possible date.  It may be worth using elsewhere.

Not much in this paragraph that is not in the Child Support Guideline 3 regarding deviations except its brevity:
If an agreement concerning support provides any deviation from the Guidelines, the parties shall present to the Court a written explanation, with supporting documentation, justifying the deviation. The proposed Order shall specifically state that the Court is deviating from the Child Support Guidelines and set forth the reasons for such deviation.
The concluding paragraph has nothing to do with the Child Support Guidelines and all with income withholding orders.  I know this is a trend in many courts - often enough without the benefit of a Local Rule. 
In all proceedings involving child support, an Income Withholding Order shall be submitted with any Settlement Agreement or Final Decree pursuant to Indiana Code 31-16-15-1 or the parties shall:  Submit a written agreement providing for an alternative child support arrangement; or provide within the proposed Decree that “the Court determines that good cause exists not to require immediate income withholding” and stating the specific reasons therefore.

No comments: