Special & Extraordinary Expenses in Indiana
The Indiana Child Support Guidelines requires that extraordinary educational
expenses are separate from the basic child support obligation. The extraordinary
education expenses may be for elementary, secondary or post‑secondary
education at private or special schools, institutions of higher learning,
and trade, business or technical schools to meet the child’s particular
educational needs. When the parents fail to agree the court should allocate
these extraordinary educational expenses after considering factors, including
but not limited to:
- The child aptitude and ability;
- The child’s reasonable ability to contribute to the educational expenses
through work, obtaining loans; and obtaining financial aid;
- The ability of each parent to meet the extra expenses.
In allocating post-secondary (college) educational expenses, the court
should consider each parent’s income, earning ability, financial
assets and liabilities. The court is not required to order the parents’
contribution toward college expenses.
Prior to a child’s emancipation, a parent, guardian of the child,
or child, may file a petition for educational needs until the child becomes
21 years of age (support order entered prior to July 1, 2012) or 19 years
of age (support order entered after July 1, 2012).
If a post-secondary education award is appropriate, the court should divide
the expenses between the parents and the child, taking into consideration
the incomes and overall financial condition of all parties, education
gifts, education trust funds, and any other education savings program
that the child may benefit from. The court should consider the child’s
scholarships, grants, student loans, employment status and other cost‑reducing
programs available to the student.
The court will typically include tuition, books, room and board, lab fees,
course related supplies, and student activity fees as part of a post-secondary
educational award. In addition, the court has the ability to require a
minimum grade point average and minimum number of credit hours. The court
can also request transcripts to determine continued parental contribution
to post-secondary expenses.
The court may limit consideration of college expenses to the cost of an
Indiana state supported college or university such as Indiana University
Bloomington or Purdue University. However, in certain circumstances, it
is possible for the court to order payment of private college expense.
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Joshua R. Hains is a Carmel child support attorney who first – and
more importantly – listens to his client's needs. After a through
consultation, he applies more than a decade of family law experience to
each unique case so that every client can receive recommendations and
solutions suited to their individual needs.