State law requires parents to financially support their children. This means that when parents are not residing in the same household or have legally divorced, one may need to pay a set amount each week to the other, for the support of the children. Indiana calculates child support using a mathematical equation and provides two different methods for obtaining and enforcing a support order, making it a fairly simple process to get a child support award. This blog analyzes child support rules, procedure, and how to get child support if you have full custody, but no support order is in place, or you are not receiving support payments due under an order.
In order to create more consistency in the amount of child support awards, improve the efficiency of the courts, and ensure that child support obligations were partly based on the financial ability of a parent to pay, the Indiana Supreme Court adopted the Child Support Rules and Guidelines. The amount of child support calculated, when following the Guidelines, is presumed to be the correct amount, unless a party can successfully rebut this presumption with relevant evidence that application of the Guidelines would be unjust, inappropriate, or unreasonable.
Under the Guidelines, if you have custody of your child, you are most likely entitled to some amount of support. You can use the child support calculator, provided by the Indiana Courts, to create a child support worksheet with an estimate of the amount your child’s other parent might be required to pay. The amount calculated is based on your input but may not be the actual amount the court will include in a child support order, as some of the fields request financial information that can be computed in more than one way. The Guidelines include a determination of child support amount section with instructions on how to calculate weekly gross and adjusted income and guidance for determining the amounts you should enter on other lines of the worksheet.
When using the child support calculator, it is important that you provide the most accurate information possible for both you and your child’s other parent. Incorrect data entered for either parent may result in an unreliable computation of a child support obligation, as Indiana uses an approach to the establishment of child support orders that requires both parent’s financial information. This method of calculating support is called the Income Shares Model and is premised on the notion that a child whose parents do not live together should receive the same amount of financial support from each parent as he or she would if they did live together. Once you have a child support estimate, there are then a few routes for obtaining and enforcing a court order for child support.
If you already have a child support order, but your child’s other parent is not paying, there are a few options for enforcing the order, some of which are more complex than others. If you know where your child’s other parent works, you can complete an income withholding order and file it with the court for the judges signature and delivery to the employer. The order will require the employer to withhold child support from each paycheck and forward the payment to the State Central Collections Unit for distribution to you. You will need to ensure that you use the correct form for this and that all information required is provided and accurate or the employer may be able to refuse the order.
Another option for enforcing an order is to file a petition for contempt citation with the court, asking it to hold the other party in contempt for not obeying the support order. The court will schedule a hearing to determine if your child’s other parent is in contempt and then take appropriate action to help ensure that you start receiving support and any arrearage owed is added to future payments. Results of a contempt hearing can range from reordering the party to follow the order and pay support, issuing an income withholding order, or a bench warrant requiring bond (purge bond for payment of the support) that will then be sent to you as regular or back support.
If you do not already have a child support order, you can file a petition to establish support with the court asking that a support order be issued. A hearing will then be scheduled where you can submit your child support worksheet or request the court order your child’s other parent to provide income information so that a worksheet can be completed and an order for support entered.
This blog was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Associates, P.C. It is for general educational puposes. 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.