Calculating Child Support with an Indianapolis Divorce Attorney

Child support in Indianapolis is calculated using a mathematical formula based on each parents income after all deductions and credits have been applied. Although this sounds easy enough, the parties may disagree on what is considered income, if the other parent is reporting theirs correctly, whether the other parent is voluntarily underemployed or unemployed in order to avoid or minimize the amount of support they will be ordered to pay, and if deductions and credits were properly determined. This blog discusses the issues that may arise when calculating child support with an Indianapolis divorce attorney and how you can help to avoid them.

Indiana’s child support rules and guidelines were created by the Judicial Administration Committee and provide that in any child support proceeding, the amount of support arrived at by applying the guidelines is the correct amount. This is a rebuttable presumption and the court may deviate from the guidelines if a party presents reliable evidence that application of the guidelines in their circumstances would be unjust (Ind. Child. Supp. R. & Guid. 3). The presumption is important, not only to ensure that the guidelines are followed in the majority of cases, but to accomplish the objectives of consistency, efficiency, and consideration of a parents ability to pay the amount ordered (Ind. Child. Supp. G. 1). Much of this is attained through the use of the income shares model on which the guidelines are based. The income shares model is grounded in the concept that a child should receive the same amount of financial support from each parent as they would if the parents lived together with the child in the same household (National Conference of State Legislatures).

In order to determine how much a parent’s support obligation is under the income shares model one must first calculate the total income of both parents, what percentage of that income each of them earns, and the total amount of financial support the child should receive from both parents. Using this method then, a party who earns 65% of the total income would then pay to the other 65% of the total amount the child would have received for support if the parents lived together in the same household with the child. The basic obligation, before any adjustments discussed below, can be found in the guideline schedules for weekly child support payments (Indiana Judicial Branch). To make this first calculation, your attorney will need proof of income or both you and your child’s other parent. Providing this proof in the form of the last four paystubs and most recent year’s W-2s and 1099s, as well as income tax returns will make it far less difficult for your attorney to accurately determine gross income over a period of time than it would be with only part of this information. If your child’s other parent is the one in possession of any of these documents and will not provide you copies, let your attorney know right away so they can obtain them from the other parent through discovery.

Adjustments to the basic child support amount should be made for the child’s portion of health insurance premiums, support orders or legal support obligations to other children, work related child care expenses, spousal maintenance or alimony paid by one of the parties, and extraordinary education or healthcare expenses paid for the child. As with income, your attorney will need documentation of any of these expenses paid by either you or your child’s other parent. You should be aware that extraordinary educational expenses included in a child support calculation may not be accepted by the court without a hearing on the matter if your child’s other parent disputes the amount or finds it an unnecessary expenditure (Ind. Child. Supp. G. 8 Comm.).

If you wish to get an idea of what your or your child’s other parent’s support obligation will be or exactly how support is calculated, you can use the free online child support calculator for parents provided by the Indiana judicial branch. While the calculation may not be exactly the same one your attorney will arrive at, it will provide you with a good estimate of what the child support obligation will be.

This blog was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Associates, P.C. It is for general educational purposes. The blog is not intended to be relied upon for any legal matter or issue. The blog is not legal advice. This is an advertisement.


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