The duty to pay or right to receive child support is a big issue in most divorces. Those who anticipate that they will have to pay child support are concerned with overpayment and having the funds necessary to support themselves after paying their child support obligation. On the other hand, those who receive child support are also worried that they will not receive enough support to provide for the needs of the children.
In Indiana, a child support is entered in any divorce in which the parties have children. Indiana Courts use a child support calculator to determine which party has to pay child support and the amount of the support to be paid weekly. This calculation is based upon, among other factors, the income of the parties, the amount of time each party spends with the child and the best interests of the child. Unless there is a significant change in circumstances, child support in the amount ordered must be paid until the child reaches his or her age of emancipation. Indiana recently decreased the age of emancipation from 21 years-old to 19 years-old. Any college expense contributions are not included in this child support obligation, but Courts will sometimes order payment towards college expenses.
There are specific instances in which child support must be paid past the age of majority. For example, in the event that a child has special needs. Similarly, a Court may also deem a child to be emancipated prior to the age of 19 in the event that the child joins the military, gets married or meets any of the other statutory requirements of Indiana Code.
Halcomb Singler, LLP, represents mothers and fathers to make sure that any child support paid or received is reasonable and within the child support guidelines. If the circumstances have changed so as to make the amount child support being paid or being received unreasonable AND it has been more than twelve (12) months since the last order modifying child support, one of the parties may request a modification of the child support order. Indiana Code section 31-16-8-1 states that the amount of child support being paid is unreasonable if the amount of child support paid or received by a party changes by 20% or more from the time the child support order was made. As a result the Court change the amount of the weekly child support order only once every twelve (12) months if your obligation to pay or receive will change by at least 20%. This means that there are many circumstances in which a child support order cannot be modified even if there has been a change in the incomes of the parties. For example, if the original order for child support stated that mother has to pay father $60.00 per week in child support and running a new calculation two (2) years after the order would put the mother’s child support obligation at $50.00 per week, she could petition the Court for a modification of her order. On the other hand, if a new child support worksheet showed that the mother’s obligation should be reduced from $60.00 per week to $55.00 per week, then her obligation would not have changed by more than 10% and no modification would be possible under the statute.
In situations with higher support obligations a 10% change in the child support calculation might make a huge difference in the amount of child support paid. For example, if a father is ordered to pay $325.00 per week for child support, a decrease to $276.25 per week would save him $48.75 per week for a total of $2,535.00 per year. However, since this is only a difference of 15% of his child support obligation, father has not met the statutory requirements to petition the Court for a modification of his child support obligation.
Our Carmel family law attorneys work hard to make sure than any changes in child support obligations are fair to our clients. If you need a Carmel family law attorney, contact us at Halcomb Singler, LLP, regarding child support or a divorce call us at (317) 575-8222. Our attorneys are here to answer all of your questions today.
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