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Child Support Attorney Serving Hamilton, Boone, and Marion Counties

What is Child Support?

In Indiana, as in many states, child support is court-ordered in a divorce, separation, or after establishing paternity. These court orders are issued to ensure both parents participate in the costs of raising a child. Based on income, a child support order may require a parent to pay for basic expenses, health insurance, educational expenses, costs of medical treatments, and other care. Child support may be a contentious issue in divorce and is among the most critical issues to resolve in a separation or divorce.

Rights and Responsibilities that Come with Child Support

Indiana has a Child Support Enforcement Program. Lawmakers are determined to ensure that both parents financially support their children. The state offers a range of services to locate parents, establish a child's paternity, and employs enforcement actions to gain access to funds from parents who have failed to pay court-ordered child support. The Court takes a dim view of parents who fail to pay child support. However, if a parent has a meaningful change in circumstances, such as losing a job, having a child with a current spouse, or other change, the Court may approve a modification.

Which Parent Will Pay Child Support?

In most cases, the non-custodial parent pays the parent who has primary physical custody a monthly amount under the Indiana Child Support Guidelines.

In some cases, the formula is not as clear-cut when determining the monthly support amount. In these situations, at Emerson Divorce and Accident Injury Attorneys, L.L.C., our Carmel child support lawyer can provide experienced, dedicated legal support and counsel. His breadth of knowledge of the Indiana child support laws allows him to work within the legal system to resolve a range of child support issues.

Beyond representing his clients persuasively and professionally, he has an extraordinary level of dedication to the people he serves. He works long hours to develop the most compelling case to present to the Court, within the restrictions imposed by state law.

Child Support FAQ

How does the Court determine child support?

Indiana lawmakers have outlined how child support is determined. These rules are called the "Indiana Child Support Guidelines." Child support reflects each parent's income, access to work-related child care expenses, the cost of medical insurance covering the child, and various other factors in the calculation. If a parent is not employed, the Court may order child support payments based on what the unemployed parent could earn at a minimum-wage job.

How is child support calculated in Indiana?

Many factors are reviewed when determining the amount of child support a parent must pay. The goal of child support is to provide the children with the same standard of living as they enjoyed before the divorce or separation. The factors reviewed in this calculation will include:

  • Income of each parent: The gross income of each parent will affect the child support payment amount. Generally speaking, the more you make, the higher your child support payment. The Court requires a full verification of income, including wages, salaries, other income, benefits, commissions, or benefits such as housing or vehicles.
  • Obligations: Value of money spent on other obligations such as subsequent children.
  • Shared custody: The time the child (or children) spends living with each parent.
  • Health insurance: The Court will want the health insurance for the child to continue. The parent paying for health insurance typically reduces the amount paid in child support.
  • Extraordinary health care expenses: A child may require specialized care, and these costs are part of the calculation.

Can child support payments be modified?

Yes. Your child support order can be modified to be higher or lower, based on changes in circumstances of the parent, or needs of the child. These modifications must be court-approved. Changing the amount you pay in child support without a court-approved modification can lead to enforcement actions, even if you have a verbal agreement.

What needs to be proven for the Court to approve a child support modification?

A child support order could be modified by proving that you have a continuing and substantial change of circumstances that make the terms of the child support order unreasonable. The amount of the modified child support order is within the discretion of the Court, under Indiana Code 31-16-8-1.

How is paternity established?

Paternity can be established in several ways. If a married couple has a child, or a child is born less than 300 days after the marriage ends, the husband is presumed to be the parent. Paternity can also be established within 72 hours of birth, with both parents signing a legal form, "paternity affidavit." If a paternity action is filed, DNA testing can prove a man is the child's biological parent.

How long will a parent be required to pay child support in Indiana?

Child support is paid until a child is 19 years old unless the child is legally emancipated. A child with special needs may require the child support payments to continue past age 19.

Call Our Carmel Child Support Lawyers Today

If you want to learn about modifying a child support order, contact our Indianapolis family law attorney at Emerson Divorce and Accident Injury Attorneys, L.L.C. We serve clients throughout Hamilton County, Boone County, and Marion County, including Indianapolis, Carmel, Fishers, Westfield, Noblesville, Zionsville, Whitestown, and the neighboring areas.

Call us today at (317) 969-8000 for assistance in child support matters. We offer a free consultation to discuss your child custody issue.

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