The goal of child support is to provide the same standard of living for the child that he or she would have had if the parents had not divorced. In Indiana, all courts utilize a standard Child Support Calculator to determine how much child support should be paid. The Child Support Calculator takes a number of factors into account, including:
- Each parent’s income.
- The number of overnight visits that the child has with the noncustodial parent. Typically, the more time that the child spends with the noncustodial parent, the less support that parent will have to pay.
- Health insurance costs. If the noncustodial parent pays for health insurance for the child, this will count as a credit toward the child support.
- Child care costs.
- Any prior or subsequent children. Child support paid on behalf of other children will be taken into account when calculating each parent’s obligations.
How is my income calculated?
A parent’s gross weekly income is used to calculate child support payments. If the parent receives state or federal benefits, such as food stamps, Supplemental Security Income, or Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF), those would not typically be included as income.
If a parent is self-employed, his or her income would be usually calculated by taking gross receipts minus ordinary and necessary expenses. In-kind benefits, bonuses, or commission may also be included in the income calculation. However, these are fact-sensitive inquiries, and your attorney can provide you with guidance as to how they may apply in your case.
How are expenses split?
Under the Child Support Calculator, expenses may be split based upon each parent’s share of income. Both parents’ income is added together, and then it is divided by their respective incomes. For instance, if the father makes $1500 per week and the mother makes $1000 per week, the father would be responsible for 60 percent of the expenses, while the mother would be responsible for 40 percent.
Will my child support obligations change if one of the parties’ income changes?
Either party can file for a change in child support obligations.
The court may change the child support obligations if the amount of child support that was previously ordered is at least 20% more or 20% less than it would be if it was calculated today, and it has been at least a year since the court’s last child support order.
The court could also change the child support obligations if it determines that the current amount of child support is unreasonable. This might happen if:
- One parent loses a job.
- One parent gets a new job with a much higher income.
- There is a change in the custody of the child.
- The child requires significant medical care or becomes disabled.
- The child goes to college.
What happens if my ex-spouse does not pay his or her child support obligations?
If your ex-spouse is ordered to pay child support, but fails to do so, your attorney can help you petition the court to enforce that child support order. The court has a variety of options available to enforce that order. For instance, the court could issue an income withholding order, which would take the money directly from your ex-spouse’s paycheck. The court could also hold your ex-spouse in contempt of court, and could impose financial or criminal penalties, including jail time.
The information above does not constitute legal advice, and you should talk with an attorney to understand how the law applies in your situation. The attorneys at Woods Kyle, LLP can guide you and advocate for you throughout the divorce and child support process. If you are thinking about filing for divorce or are dealing with a child support situation, call (317) 738-9564 to set up a confidential consultation.