Indiana Child Support Laws

Child Support Laws as they apply to the state of Indiana

Everything you need to know about Child Support Laws in Indiana, updated for 2020.

Indiana child support guidelines, on the basic level, serve three main functions. That is:

One, to ensure an appropriate standard of support for children in the state factoring in the parent’s ability to pay. Two, to make child support awards equitable by ensuring more consistent treatment. And, three, to improve the efficiency of the court process.

Indiana child support guidelines, on the basic level, serve three main functions. That is:

One, to ensure an appropriate standard of support for children in the state factoring in the parent’s ability to pay. Two, to make child support awards equitable by ensuring more consistent treatment. And, three, to improve the efficiency of the court process.

Overview of Indiana child support guidelines

The National Center for State Courts developed Indiana child support guidelines based on the “Income Shares Model.” Primarily, the Income Shares Model is predicated on the assumption that the child should receive the same proportion of parental income that he or she would receive if the marriage or civil union never dissolved.

How is child support calculated in Indiana?

The official Indiana child support calculator provides an avenue for parents to determine how much each should pay in child support. Furthermore, the Indiana Department of Child Services offers live support via this number 1(844)836-0003.

If you are unsure how much you owe, either call (800)840-8757 or contact your attorney if you have one.

That said.

According to Indiana child support guidelines, “gross weekly income” includes:

  • Self-employment, wages, and royalty income.
  • Commissions and bonuses.
  • Overtime.

And all forms of irregular income.

Factored into the final amount, are expenses including daily child needs such as food, housing, and medical expenses. However, child support may also cover the following:

  • Private school, college, or other educational needs of the child.

But note that extra-curricular activity costs such as sports leagues, summer camp, and such are “optional expenses.” Thus, it is up to the parents to reach an agreement on how to handle these types of expenses.

Find a worksheet here to help you calculate your obligation.

A worksheet for calculating child support in Indiana

Indiana child support worksheet

What determines child support in Indiana?

When applying the guidelines, Indiana courts follow these steps:

  1. After making “certain adjustments,” the courts add both parent’s income. Then a percentage share of the proceeds is determined.
  2. The total/combined gross income is compared to the support tables in the Indiana schedule for weekly support payments.
  3. To the total amount established in step 2, expenses including health insurance premiums, and basic child support are added.
  4. Child support is then determined based on each parent’s proportionate share of the weekly adjusted income. Thus “income shares”.

Note that these guidelines are not immutable. Consequently, if a judge finds that the application of these guidelines will yield harsh, unreasonable, or an inappropriate amount. His or her judgment may deviate from the guidelines.

Also, the use of gross income is controversial in many states because deductions including taxes affect how much the parent makes. Accordingly, there is an infinite number of situations that might prompt a judge to deviate. Some examples, according to Indiana Child Support Rules and Guidelines, include, but not limited to:

  • Significant travel expenses incurred in exercising parenting time.
  • Unusual daily work commute expenses (long distance)
  • A parent that provides support for an elderly parent.
  • A member of the armed forces who enjoy military housing.
  • The non-custodial parent has personal, extraordinary expenses.
  • Non-custodial parent purchases school clothes.

As stated, this list is endless. So, if you are a parent struggling with support payments, consult with a lawyer.

How do I request child support modification in Indiana?

Indiana child support laws allow modification with or without the agreement of your former partner. Thus, to modify child support with an agreement, fill out this form. Conversely, if the other parent does not agree to modifications, fill out this form.

But remember, modifications depend on county guidelines. View county guidelines here. Or visit the court offices in your county.

Generally, the following scenarios allow parents to lower their obligation:

  • A substantial and continuing circumstance that makes current support orders unreasonable, such as involuntary unemployment, disability, or illness.
  • An amount ordered that is at least 20% different for an existing order made at least 12 months ago.
  • A change in parental time.
  • Additional children are born to either parent.

What happens if you do not pay child support in Indiana?

Before we answer that question. It is vital to understand that under Indian child support laws, quote, “if a child is born 300 days after the marriage legally ends, the husband is presumed the father.” Also, the county prosecutors title IV-D office can help you access paternity establishment services.

The point is if you are unsure whether the child is yours, push for a paternity test before you sign any binding agreement.

For custodial parents, if the mother or father fails to meet his/her financial obligation to the child. Contact your Local County Child Support offices.

Once enforcement action has started, you will receive weekly or monthly payments depending on the agreement via Direct Deposit, or Master Card.

What if I fail to pay child support in Indiana?

The court will hold you ‘In Contempt.’ Consequently, the court will summon you to explain the reason for your failure. However, just because you are unemployed, it does not mean that the court will let you off easy. What typically happens at this stage is the court will either require you to find a job or order community service.

Furthermore, if the court finds that the violation was willful. The following licenses will either be suspended or revoked:

  • Driver’s license.
  • Horse gaming commission license.
  • Professional license.
  • Employee permits that are related to tobacco or alcohol.

These civil remedies do not end there, hence, the court or enforcing body also has the authority to:

  • Withhold all forms of income.
  • Federal and state tax intercept.
  • Motor vehicle and property liens.

How much do you have to be behind in child support to go to jail in Indiana?

Indiana code 35-46-1-5 says that any parent that knowingly and intentionally fails to pay child support is liable for class D felony charges. Additionally, a class C felony is committed if the amount of back support surpasses $15000.

In Indiana, a class D felony is punishable by a fine of $10 000 or one and a half to three years imprisonment. Whereas a class C felony carries a maximum sentence of eight years.

Therefore, to avoid these punitive measures, parents must contact child support services or agree to a payment schedule with your former partner. Remember, if you are unable to pay, you will have to show cause.

And, depending on circumstances, you may also face federal charges. So, consult with a family court attorney.

Is there a statute of limitations on child support in Indiana?

Enforcement orders stand for 10 years after the child turns 18 or after emancipation. The statute of limitations on Child support judgments, on the other hand, is 20 years.

When does child support end in Indiana?

In Indiana, the age of emancipation is 19. However, child support in Indiana does not end automatically. Meaning, it is up to the court to decide whether the payments will cease or continue. On top of that, even if the order terminates, child support collection may continue for up to four weeks.

Overall, child support in Indiana ceases when the child can take care of him/herself. That means if the child is incapacitated in any way, including mentally or physically. Payments may continue indefinitely.

The point is. In Indiana, child support ends via modification.

Another option is emancipation.

Emancipation is an option that frees parents from their obligation before a child reaches 18. To qualify for this option in Indiana, the child can either marry, join active service with the US military, or prove to the court financial independence.

Overall, an experienced family court attorney can help you navigate these laws and guarantee your rights.

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