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The Indiana Child Support guidelines have been written to establish a fair and reasonable support amount for the parents' financial situation. The guidelines also attempt to maintain a consistent formula that applies to the facts of each situation that will promote settlement. Indiana does require a child support worksheet to assist judges and practitioners in assessing the appropriate amount due.
The current guidelines have not had any recent amendments or updates since 2020. Since that date, there have been no significant changes to the Indiana child support laws.
Child Support Obligations
Child support obligations are determined by a computation based on the facts of the situation. It starts with gross income and then determines other factors such as other children, parental time, healthcare expenses, and educational expenses. It can be ascertained by filling out the details in the required worksheet. You can find the child support obligation worksheet on the Court's website at www.in.gov.
The child support worksheet can be complicated, and other worksheets may need to be filled out too. Some of the other worksheets are the parenting time credit worksheet, the post-secondary education worksheet, and the guideline schedules for weekly payments. In some cases, when the income is extremely low, the Court will consider not having an obligation. It would be helpful to have an Indiana child support attorney help you through this process.
Some (not all) of the details included in the Indiana Child Support worksheet are:
- Gross income
- Adjusted weekly income
- Essential child support obligations and additions to them
- Work-related childcare expenses
- Division of obligations between the parents
- Healthcare expenses
- Extraordinary expenses
Indiana Child Support Laws Adjustments
The worksheet determination establishes a rebuttable presumption that the amount calculated in that worksheet is the correct Indiana child support payment. In some circumstances, other forms are necessary for the Court to consider other factors. Some adjustments are parenting time credit, medical expenses, healthcare, extraordinary expenses, and income tax exemption.
Parenting Time Credit
A credit is given to a parent who has the child or children for enough overnights that they should be credited that portion of the parental support amount. There is a chart that dictates the amount of credit given for the number of overnights spent with the other party. It decreases child support if the child spends more than 51 nights with the non-custodial parent, which is equivalent to 27% of the annual overnights. For more information, read our article on Parenting Time in Indiana.
Medical Expenses/Health Care
Both parties should cover medical expenses. The Court will order one party to provide health insurance for the child. There is a rebuttable presumption that health insurance is available at a reasonable cost. Both public and private healthcare insurance are considered sufficient by the Court. Parents must work together to ensure that the child is always covered.
Extraordinary expenses for elementary, post, or secondary education are also a factor in child support obligations. The Court will consider various factors, including necessity, personal preference of one parent, and cost. It will also look to see if this was an expense they were already paying for before the divorce or separation. The Court will want to make sure the expenses are reasonable and consider less expensive options.
Again, there is a worksheet, and the computations can get tricky. There are many factors considered, such as if the child is living away or at home with the custodial parent, scholarships, and the general income of both parties. The Court may require the child to maintain specific grades. An Indiana child support attorney would help make determinations in this area.
Accountability could get tedious. Generally, it is not required that an accounting be submitted detailing where child support is spent. However, suppose there is a reasonable claim that child support is not being spent for the child's welfare. In that case, accounting can be ordered to explain future costs and past expenditures.
Tax exemptions are another consideration in figuring out child support. Currently, the Court does not have the right to award an exemption to a parent. It can, however, order that one parent sign over the exemption for a child or children to the other parent. It is required that the court order state which parent is to file the exemption. The following factors are considered in this decision:
- The value of the exemption
- Income of each parent
- Age of the child
- Percentage of the cost each parent is paying for support
- Financial aid for post-secondary education
- The financial burden of each parent in the property settlement
- Any other relevant factors
The guidelines help decipher many financial and parenting time-related factors. It does get complicated and, at times, confusing. It is best to have an Indiana Family Law attorney help you with this process. Contact one of our experienced lawyers at (630) 324-6666 to help you through the situation.
What to Expect From a Consultation
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