Child Support Guidelines in Indiana: What You Need to Know

The large majority of child support orders in Indiana are based on a mathematical equation using numbers that may have more than one definition or way to calculate. The child support guidelines provide clarity and guidance for determining the correct figures and when certain expenses and credits may be used. This blog explores the child support guidelines in Indiana and what you need to know about them. 

Parents in Indiana have a common law duty to support their children (In re Adoption of E.B., 163 N.E.3d 931, 937 (Ind. Ct. App. 2021)). Therefore, in any divorce, legal separation, or paternity case, the court may order one or both parents to pay a reasonable amount of child support. What is a reasonable amount of support is governed by Indiana’s child support orders statute which states that when ordering support, a court should consider all relevant factors, including (I.C. 31-16-6-1): “(1) the financial resources of the custodial parent; (2) the standard of living the child would have enjoyed if: (A) the marriage had not been dissolved; (B) the separation had not been ordered; or (C) in the case of a paternity action, the parents had been married and remained married to each other; (3) the physical or mental condition of the child and the child's educational needs; and (4) the financial resources and needs of the noncustodial parent…”

To help ensure that child support orders are consistent and appropriate and to improve the efficiency of the courts in child support cases, the Indiana Supreme Court created the child support guidelines (Ind. Child. Supp. R. & Guid. 1). The guidelines take into account the factors listed in the child support orders statute, providing specific instructions for calculating a parent’s financial resources and implementing a mathematical formula to determine the standard of living the child would have enjoyed, had his or her parents not separated. They also define and describe how to compute information required for a support calculation, including, but not limited to, gross income, weekly adjusted gross income for subsequent born children, work related childcare expenses, and the cost of health insurance for the child (Ind. Child. Supp. R. & Guid. 3). Federal law requires the child support guidelines to be used in any case where child support is established and Indiana requires the parties to complete a child support worksheet to assist the court in determining the amount of support under the guidelines (Ind. Child. Supp. R & Guid. 2)

The guidelines can be used to assist you in completing a child support worksheet, which can be done using the Indiana court’s child support calculator for parents. The guidelines will instruct you on how to determine the correct numbers to use on each line of the worksheet and the calculator will do all of the math for you, creating a completed child support worksheet that can be submitted to a court for a final child support determination. In order to use the child support calculator you will need to have information on both parent’s income and expenses for child support orders, alimony, the child’s portion of any healthcare premiums, and work related childcare (Indiana Courts Child Support Calculator for Parents). Both parent’s information is required to complete a child support worksheet because the statute governing child support, as well as the support guidelines. are predicated on the income shares model created by the National Center for State Courts. This concept is included in factor two of the child support orders statute, which provides that the court shall consider the standard of living the child would have enjoyed if his or her parents had not separated. 

A child support calculation using the income shares model takes each parent’s income, subtracts any applicable credits, and provides the amount that parent would spend on the child, if the household were intact. This amount is what the non-custodial parent will normally be ordered to pay to the custodial parent. The court may deviate from this amount if it finds it to be unjust, unreasonable, or inappropriate in a particular case. Some reasons for deviation might include extraordinary medical expenses, providing support for an elderly parent, or incurring significant travel expenses to exercise parenting time (Ind. Child. Supp. R. & Guid. 1). A court may also assign a higher income to a party on the child support worksheet if it finds that the parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed without just cause. When imputing income to a party, the court will determine the amount of income based on the parties previous earnings, job opportunities and earning levels in the community, education, age, and health, among any other factors affecting employment and income (Ind. Child. Supp. R. & Guid. 3(A)(3)).  

The complete guidelines can be read on Indiana’s Rules of Court, Child Support Rules and Guidelines webpage. However, if you are involved in a child support case requiring interpretation of the support rules and guidelines, you should consult with an experienced attorney before filing anything with the court or attending any hearings. 

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.


Quick Contact

Need to talk now? Fill out the quick form below and we will contact you directly.

What Our Clients Say About Us

Contact Us