Child support in Indiana is a little understood concept. Specifically, how it is calculated, what you can expect to pay, and how the obligations are collected if someone fails to pay child support that has been ordered by a court. All of this is a mystery to most people until someone is a party to a divorce or child support proceeding, at which point the system often becomes even more daunting and confusing. However, the way child support obligations are calculated in Indiana is reasonably predictable. Like many states, Indiana uses a standard formula for calculating what a parent owes in child support (see calculator here). It is common for parents to have been a party to a divorce or child support proceeding in the past, and have no idea how the court arrived at the amount of child support owed. The assistance of a seasoned Indiana family law attorney is instrumental in helping you understand the child support process.
How Is Child Support Determined?
Indiana determines child support based on a set of guidelines that were passed into law in the late 1980s. Under Indiana law, every child has the right to be supported by both parents. The Indiana Child Support Guidelines are based off a belief that a child should receive the same proportion of parental income that he or she would have received if the parents lived together or stayed together, whichever the case may be. The guidelines, therefore, take into account both the parents’ financial resources and needs, the standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage not been dissolved or had the parents not lived separately, the physical or mental condition of the child, and the child’s educational needs. Child support typically is intended to cover both the child’s basic living expenses as well as health insurance and other basic necessities of raising a child.
Are My Child Support Obligations Set in Stone Once They Are Determined by the Court? Can They Ever Be Modified?
Imagine the economy turns south and you lose your job, which pays $60,000 annually, through no fault of your own. Or say your parents become sick and you need to take months of unpaid leave to care for them. In short, you may need some temporary relief from your financial obligations, including child support obligations that were entered as a condition of your divorce years earlier. The good news for you is that child support obligations can be modified in Indiana. However, doing so can be difficult and requires court approval even if the child’s other parent agrees to the requested changes. An experienced Indiana family attorney can assist you in obtaining a modification of your child support obligations if unforeseen circumstances or financial hardship arise.
Indiana law allows for a party to a child support order to petition to modify the amount of child support in one of two circumstances:
(1) there has been a substantial and continuing change in your circumstances which has arisen since the original child support order was entered; or
(2) the previous child support order is at least 12 months old, and the amount of support that would be calculated under Indiana’s guidelines in your changed circumstances differs from the current order by at least 20%.
Therefore, in the event you are without any income because you lost a job through no fault of your own or because you stopped working to take care of sick or aging parent, then it would be possible for you to seek a modification of a child support order which previously obligated you to pay a certain amount. In addition, a parent who is required to pay child support can also obtain relief from a previous child support order if the other parent agrees to the requested modification.
However, even if the other parent agrees to the modification that someone seeks to an Indiana child support order, a court must still approve the arrangement and enter a formal order which adopts the modification. Therefore, if you are a party to a previous child support order in Indiana and would like to seek a modification of a child support order, you should seek the assistance of an experienced family law attorney regardless of whether the other parent agrees or not.
What If I Am Behind on Child Support Payments? What Can My Ex-Spouse or the Other Parent of My Child Do?
If you are behind on child support obligations, the consequences can be severe under Indiana law. A child support obligation is a legally binding obligation that is not voluntary simply because someone does not have the funds to make a payment in a specific month. When a parent fails to pay child support that has been ordered by an Indiana court, the payments are considered delinquent, and action can be taken against the parent that owes the child support. The local child support prosecutor or the child’s other parent can pursue the delinquent parent to enforce the order in several ways, including garnishing a paycheck, seizing tax refunds, reporting the delinquency to a credit bureau, suspending a driver’s license, and putting a lien on your car or vehicle.
No matter the reason, if you are behind on child support obligations in Indiana, you should enlist the services of an experienced Indiana family law attorney as soon as possible to seek a modification of the child support order.
Contact Experienced Indiana Family Lawyer David Frangos if You Are in Need of Legal Advice Concerning Child Support Obligations In Indiana
David Frangos of Frangos Legal is an an experienced Indiana family lawyer who has experience representing those who are subject to child support obligations who need modifications of previously entered child support orders because a client may be experiencing financial hardship or some circumstance that is making it difficult for the client to continue to pay the court-ordered child support.
David also has experience representing parents who need assistance in enforcing Indiana child support orders that are not being paid by a parent who is delinquent on his or her child support obligations. If you need an experienced Indiana divorce and family attorney, then contact David Frangos of Frangos Legal today for a Free Consultation and Case Review by emailing [email protected], by telephone at (317) 643-1345, or by booking online.