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Calculations & Guidelines

Child Support Guidelines in Indiana

Indiana courts establish child support and educational support orders to provide an appropriate standard of support for children, subject to the ability of parents to financially contribute to that support. These child support orders are governed by the Indiana Child Support Rules and Guidelines as adopted by the Indiana Supreme Court and require a completed Child Support Obligation Worksheet. The Indiana Child Support Guidelines are required to be applied in every instance in which child support is established, including but not limited to, dissolution of marriage, legal separations, paternity actions and petitions to establish support and Title IV-D proceedings.

The Indiana Child Support Guidelines are predicated on the concept that the child should receive the same proportion of each parent's income that he or she would have received if the parents and child were living together. The Indiana Child Support Guidelines relate the level of child support to income and the number of children, by calculating the share of each parent’s income estimated to have been spent on the child if the parents and child were living in an intact household. The calculated amount establishes the level of child support for both the custodial parent (the parent who has been awarded physical custody of a child by a court) and non-custodial parent (the parent who has been awarded parenting time with a child by a court).

Understanding the Child Support Obligation Worksheet

By applying the Indiana Child Support Guidelines, the court and/or parents will complete a Child Support Obligation Worksheet. The Child Support Obligation Worksheet takes into consideration factors including, but not limited to, the following:

  • The parents’ Weekly Gross Income;
  • Subsequent born or legally adopted children;
  • Court orders for prior-born children;
  • Legal duty of support for prior-born children;
  • Alimony or maintenance;
  • Work-related child care expenses;
  • Cost of health insurance for children;
  • Parenting time credit.

The Child Support Payment Process

Typically, the non-custodial parent pays his or her calculated amount as the child support to be paid to the custodial parent for the benefit of the child or children. In most circumstances, the non-custodial parent’s child support obligation is paid through an Income Withholding Order which is sent to his or her employer who will withhold child support from the non-custodial parent’s earnings and send the money to the Indiana State Central Collections Unit. If an Income Withholding Order is not in place, the non-custodial parent may make cash payments to the County Clerk’s Office. This payment can be made by check to the Indiana State Central Collections Unit or by credit/debit card over the phone and/or online. The custodial parent is presumed to spend his or her calculated amount directly on the child or children. However, in certain circumstances, the custodial parent may be required to pay child support to the non-custodial parent.

Modification of a Child Support Order

After the entry of a child support order, to modify and change a child support obligation, a parent must show:

  1. A change of circumstance so substantial and continuing as to make the terms unreasonable; or
  2. A more than 20% difference from the current order and the amount that would be ordered by applying the Indiana Child Support Guidelines exists and at least 12 months has passed before the petition requesting modification was filed with the court.

In most circumstances, the court will modify child support retroactive the 1st Friday following the date a petition to modify was filed with the court. However, there are specific exceptions to this rule.

Contact Joshua Hains for Assistance with Child Support Guidelines and Calculations

For a detailed explanation of child support guidelines and calculations, contact Hains Law, LLC to schedule an initial consultation. Joshua R. Hains is a Carmel child support attorney who will help you navigate the Indiana Child Support Rules and Guidelines.