Child Support Services for Separating & Divorced Parents in Indiana
There are many details to consider when creating a child support agreement.
Understanding the varied factors is key to securing the financial support
you need to provide for your children or child. However, without an experienced
family law attorney, you may sell yourself short. Attorney Hains can offer
a detailed explanation of child support calculations and regulations to
help steer you down the right path.
How Do I Enforce a Child Support Order?
Sometimes, the parent responsible for paying child support will neglect
or fail to follow through. Failing to pay child support may be due to
personal financial struggles, negligence, or a change in circumstances,
like job loss. However, if you have been left without the child support
payment that was promised to you, it is important to understand that you
have options to
enforce the support order.
If your former spouse or partner continues to refuse to pay voluntarily,
we can help you secure payment through means such as:
- Garnishing wages
- Withholding income
- Seizing tax refunds
- Placing a lien on a bank account, home, or vehicle
- Obtaining a court judgment for arrears (including interest)
Our Carmel child support attorney can help determine what you are owed
so that you can continue to provide for your child or children.
Modifications & Amendments
Life throws curveballs all the time. As life changes, many parents find
themselves needing to amend child support orders.
Modification requests must be approved by the court.
A modification might be granted if you:
- Lost a job
- Received a promotion
- Became ill
- Have become otherwise unable to make payments
Our child support attorney in Carmel can help you request a modification
or object to the other parent’s request.
In certain cases, it may be necessary to terminate child support once the
child in question has reached the age of
emancipation. In Indiana, the age of emancipation is 19. In most cases, this is the
age at which parents’ child support obligations terminate. However,
parents can be required to continue to provide support for college-related
expenses after a child’s 19th birthday, and a child can become emancipated
before age 19 if he or she enrolls in the military, gets married, or is
no longer under the care or control of either parent. Emancipation matters
are easier with the help of a seasoned family lawyer like Joshua R. Hains.
For unmarried parents, the first step toward establishing child support
is to establish
paternity. Unlike married couples, the male in a nonmarital relationship is not
automatically presumed to be a child’s father under Indiana law.
If you need to establish your paternity or prove the identity of your
child’s father to obtain child support, Attorney Hains can help.
Calculating Child Support in Indiana
When calculating child support, the driving factor is each parent’s
respective ability to pay. Indiana’s
Child Support Rules and Guidelines govern all child support calculations, and they require both parents to
contribute to meeting their children’s financial needs based upon
their “weekly gross income.” This includes income from
all sources, with only a few narrow exceptions.
Sources of income considered when calculating child support include:
- Severance pay
- Business and investment income
- Workers’ compensation benefits
- Unemployment insurance benefits
- Social Security benefits
- Spousal maintenance
How can you make sure your spouse or partner is accurately representing
his or her weekly gross income in your child support case? In a divorce,
both spouses are required to make certain mandatory financial disclosures.
If you are concerned that your spouse or partner may be attempting to
hide income to avoid paying child support or to minimize their child support
obligation, we can help you take advantage of forensic accounting and
The Basic Child Support Obligation & Extraordinary Expenses
Once the parents’ respective incomes have been determined, a formula
is applied to determine each parent’s “basic child support
obligation.” This is each parent’s obligation to help cover
the costs of their children’s living expenses, daily needs, and
private health insurance costs. Each parent is required to contribute
in proportion to his or her income. The total amount of basic child support
is based on the number of children who need to be supported. If either
parent will incur childcare expenses, these expenses will reduce their
basic child support obligation.
On top of the basic child support obligation, parents may be required to
contribute to certain extraordinary expenses as well. These expenses include:
- Uninsured medical expenses exceeding 6% of the basic child support obligation
- Reasonable and necessary private school tuition
- Reasonable and necessary vocational training costs
- Reasonable and necessary higher learning expenses
Avoiding Child Support Payments
Parents are expected to support their children financially – period.
A parent cannot quit their job or take a lower-paying job to avoid paying
In addition to focusing on the parents’ actual “weekly gross
income,” Indiana’s Child Support Guidelines also examine the
earning potential in cases of unemployment or underemployment. If it can be shown that a
parent has intentionally depressed his or her income to avoid liability
for child support, then the court should calculate payments based upon
that parent’s earning potential instead of his or her current income.
Calculating Child Support for Business Owners
Fundamentally, calculating child support for business owners is the same
as calculating child support for spouses with ordinary employment. However,
if a business owner does not receive a regular salary from the company,
this can present certain additional challenges. Attorney Joshua R. Hains
is experienced in representing business owners in all aspects of divorce,
and he can assist you in arriving at an appropriate child support calculation.
What to Do If You Cannot Afford Your Child Support Payments
If you can no longer afford your child support payments, it is important
that you seek legal help right away. Failing to pay court-ordered child
support is a serious matter that can lead to severe penalties, even if
your non-payment is due to a legitimate inability to pay. To reduce your
child support obligations, you will need to file a formal request for
modification in court.
To convince the judge to grant your request, you will need to be able to
- You have lost your job due to circumstances beyond your control
- You have made legitimate efforts to find suitable employment
- Your inability to pay child support is not a result of your preference
to prioritize other non-necessary expenses
Attorney Hains can help you determine if you are eligible to request a
modification of child support. If you are, he can take your case in front
of your local judge.
How Alimony Affects Child Support Payments
spousal maintenance is limited. The Child Support Guidelines indicate that the overall financial
impact for a payor should be considered when determining an aggregate
child support and spousal maintenance award. For parents who are receiving
alimony, maintenance payments are considered a form of income for purposes
of calculating child support.
A Family Lawyer with Your Best Interest at Heart
At Hains Law, LLC, we are fully committed to every case we work on. Regardless
of the size or scope of your situation, you can rest assured that our
Carmel child support attorney will provide the legal guidance you need.
If you are interested in setting up a consultation,
contact us at
(317) 588-2883 today.