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Child Support FAQs

The information on this page will provide you with basic information and answers to some frequently asked questions. However, this information is not legal advice and is not meant to be a replacement for competent legal counsel. There are no two cases alike, and as such, you need legal advice that fits your needs. Van Winkle Legal is here to provide you with the advice you need to face your situation.

How much child support will I have to pay/receive?

Child support orders are governed by the Indiana Child Support Guidelines. The support amount is arrived at with the goal of allowing the children to enjoy the standard of living they would have enjoyed if their parents were still together.

Child support is based on a number of variables. The starting point is determining the gross weekly income of each parent. Depending on the circumstances, this can either be a simple process or a rather complicated one. A parent’s gross weekly income takes into account all types of income. Aside from determining gross weekly income, we must also determine whether either parent has other children (prior born and/or subsequent), child support orders for those children, the cost of work-related child care, and the cost of providing health insurance for the children. The number of overnights the children spend in the home of each parent is also something that must be determined to arrive at the child support figure.

Why does my spouse get a “parenting time” credit for overnights he or she has with the children?

The parent who has the children with him or her on any given day is responsible for feeding the children, transporting the children, providing spending money and incurs additional utility expenses. The credit received by the parent paying support is intended to offset the expenses he or she incurs during parenting time.

How will I receive my child support?

Most courts now require support to be paid via an income-withholding order. This results in the parent’s employer being ordered by the court to withhold the child support from his or her wages. The money is then sent to the Indiana State Central Collection Unit, where it is then sent to the support-receiving parent. In addition to ensuring support is timely paid, utilizing an income-withholding order also ensures both parties and the court have a record of all support payments made.

What can be done to a parent who fails to pay child support?

The court has a number of options available to pursue a parent who fails to pay support. The most common of these is holding the parent in contempt. This can result in the parent being ordered to pay the other parent’s legal fees. It can also include being ordered to perform community service or face an “all pay or jail” order. If the parent fails to make all payments required after the issuance of an “all pay or jail” order, he or she will be incarcerated. The parent will also be given a purge bond equal to the support arrearage or a large part thereof. It is always interesting to see how quickly a parent is able to begin making regular support payment or raise a large sum of money to avoid jail.

The court can also intercept the parent’s tax refund checks, place liens on property and/or suspend a driver’s license or other professional licenses. The court can order the parent to apply for jobs and provide proof of all attempts to secure employment.

What if the parent who pays support moves to another state?

The prosecutor’s office in the county that issued your support order can have the prosecutor’s office of the state where the parent has relocated initiate a reciprocal enforcement action. The prosecutor’s office would then file a case in the new state and enforce the existing support order.

How often can child support be modified?

In most circumstances, child support can only be modified once every 12 months. In order to be successful in seeking a modification of support, the new support figure must be at least 20 percent (20%) higher or lower than the current support order. In certain circumstances, you can modify child support even if it has not been 12 months since the last support order. The most common example would be where the parent paying support has become unemployed.

What is the age of emancipation?

As of July 1, 2012, the age of emancipation is 19 years of age. This means that your duty to pay child support will end on the child’s 19th birthday. Keep in mind, this does not mean you can simply stop paying support or unilaterally reduce your support. Instead, you should file a pleading with the court seeking an order to terminate or reduce support. There are certain events that will result in emancipation. Some examples include marriage or joining any branch of the military. Support can also be terminated at 18 years of age if your child has been out of school for at least four (4) months, and is not enrolled in or attending a postsecondary educational facility.