317-688-1305

FREE CONSULTATION | Call 317-688-1305

Child Support

Experienced Child Support Attorney Serving Carmel, IN

Many individuals find it difficult to discuss finances, even with those who are close to them. An initial hesitation to discuss money coupled with the fact that the well-being of a child is on the table makes discussing child support a stressful process for parents.

Even the most easy-going of divorcing spouses may have difficulty when it comes to determining what constitutes an appropriate calculation of child support. There are so many factors to take into consideration when determining what is fair, accurate and needed. These factors cannot often be fairly evaluated without outside assistance. Due to the challenges presented in child support cases, it is helpful to have the guidance and support of a Carmel child support attorney like Joshua R. Hains.

With a decade of experience in family law, Attorney Hains has a deep understanding of the legal system, especially as it relates to divorce proceedings and child support. He has handled a variety of child support cases from average to difficult and is prepared to help you and your spouse or partner come to an agreeable solution.

Child Support Services for Separating and Divorced Parents in Indiana

Calculations & Guidelines

There are many details to consider when creating a child support agreement. Understanding the varied factors is key to securing the monetary support you need to provide for your children or child. However, without an experienced and seasoned 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.

Learn more about child support calculations.

Enforcement and Recovery

Often, after agreeing to the court order regarding child support, the parent responsible for paying the monthly amount will neglect to follow through. Failure to pay child support can be because of personal financial straits, negligence or a variety of changes in your ex-spouses living situation. However, if you have been left without the child support payment that was promised to you it is important to understand you have options. Joshua R. Hains can help determine what is owed to you so that you can continue to provide for your child or children.

Learn more about enforcement and recovery.

Modifications & Amendments

The choice to modify or amend a child support agreement is one that is never made lightly. Understanding the amount of effort and resources required to support the child in question is of the utmost importance. You may find yourself desiring a change to the order that was originally set forth for a variety of reasons. If this is the case, Hains Law, LLC can assist you.

Learn more about modifications and amendments.

Emancipation

In certain cases, it may be necessary to terminate child support once the child in question has reached 18 years of age (and sometimes for other reasons). Emancipation is easier with the help of a seasoned family lawyer like Joshua R. Hains. Contact Hains Law, LLC to set up a consultation, so you can get a better understanding of your legal options.

Learn more about emancipation.

Establishing Paternity

For unmarried parents, in many cases the first step toward establishing child support is to establish paternity. Unlike married couples, in a nonmarital relationship, the male is not automatically presumed to be a child’s father under Indiana law. If you need to establish your paternity or prove the identify of your child’s father in order to obtain child support, Attorney Hains can help.

Learn more about establishing paternity.

Calculating Child Support in Indiana: Determining the Parents’ Ability to Pay

When calculating child support, the driving factor is each parent’s respective ability to pay. Indiana’s Child Support Rules and Guidelines (the “Child Support 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 factored into the calculation of child support in Indiana include, but are not limited to:

  • Salary
  • Wages
  • Commissions
  • Bonuses
  • Overtime
  • Severance pay
  • Pensions
  • Interest
  • 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 which are designed to assist in the calculation of child support (and spousal maintenance). If you are concerned that your spouse or partner may be attempting to hide income in order to avoid paying child support or minimize his or her child support obligation, there are forensic accounting and legal tools available, and Attorney Hains can help ensure that you have all of the financial information you need to accurately calculate child support.

Calculating Child Support in Indiana: The Basic Child Support Obligation and Extraordinary Expenses

In all cases, once the parents’ respective incomes have been determined, then 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 (if applicable). Each parent is required to contribute in proportion to his or her income, and the total amount of basic child support is based on the number of children who need to be supported. If either parent will incur child care expenses due to employment based upon the parties’ parenting time schedule, these expenses will reduce his or her basic child support obligation.

On top of the basic child support obligation, under appropriate circumstances parents may be required to contribute to certain extraordinary expenses as well. These expenses include:

  • Uninsured medical expenses (exceeding six percent of the basic child support obligation)
  • Reasonable and necessary private school tuition
  • Reasonable and necessary vocational training costs
  • Reasonable and necessary higher learning expenses

Indiana Child Support FAQs

Q: What is the age of emancipation in Indiana?

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 (more on this below), and a child can become emancipated prior to age 19 if he or she:

  • Enrolls in the military;
  • Gets married; or,
  • Is no longer under the “care or control” of either parent or an approved agency.

Additionally, there are certain circumstances in which parents’ child support obligations can end upon a child’s 18th birthday. These circumstances are all education and employment-related. However, in all cases, a formal court order is required before child support payments may be terminated.

Q: Can a parent quit his or her job (or take a lower-paying job) in order to avoid paying child support?

No. In addition to focusing on the parents’ actual “weekly gross income,” Indiana’s Child Support Guidelines also examine the parents’ earning potential in cases of unemployment or underemployment. If it can be shown that a parent has intentionally depressed his or her income in an attempt 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.

Q: How is child support calculated 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 Hains is experienced in representing business owners in all aspects of divorces and separations, and he can assist you in arriving at an appropriate child support calculation.

Q: Does child support cover college tuition, books and housing?

Not necessarily. Under Indiana law, it is within the court’s discretion to order child support for college expenses based upon, “each parent’s income, earning ability, financial assets and liabilities.” For parents seeking to establish child support without court intervention, it will be necessary to address college tuition, books and housing separately from the basic child support calculation.

Q: What are my rights if my former spouse or partner has stopped paying child support?

If your former spouse or partner has stopped paying child support, you can enforce your right to payment in court. However, you cannot retaliate by any means, including interfering with his or her right to visitation or parenting time. Attorney Hains can help you enforce your right to child support; and, if your former spouse or partner continues to refuse to pay voluntarily, he 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)

Parents who fail to pay child support can also face driver’s license suspensions, contempt charges, fines and jail time.

Q: If my child has a job, do I still need to pay child support?

Yes. If your child has a job, you still need to pay child support, unless: (i) your child has been formally emancipated, or (ii) your child is over age 18 and is capable of fully supporting himself or herself through employment. But, in either scenario, a formal court order terminating child support is still required.

Q: What should I do if I can no longer afford my 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.

In order 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 show that you have lost your job due to circumstances beyond your control, you have made good-faith efforts to find suitable employment, and 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; and, if you are, he can take your case in front of your local judge.

Q: Can I seek additional child support if my former spouse or partner is now earning significantly more?

Potentially, yes. If your former spouse or partner’s ability to pay child support has increased substantially, you may be able to file a request for modification in order to seek additional payments for child-related expenses. Once again, Attorney Hains can help, and we encourage you to contact us to discuss your options.

Q: How do spousal maintenance payments affect child support?

In Indiana, the availability of spousal maintenance (more-commonly known as “alimony”) 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, stating that, “[i]n no case shall child support and temporary maintenance exceed fifty percent (50%) of the obligor's weekly adjusted income.” For parents who are receiving spousal maintenance, as noted above, maintenance payments are considered a form of income for purposes of calculating child support.

About Carmel Family Lawyer Joshua R. Hains

Joshua R. Hains is a devoted family law attorney who has been practicing law in Carmel, Indiana for more than a decade. He represents individuals in all legal aspects of divorces and separations, as well as in post-divorce and post-separation matters. He handles a variety of other family-related legal matters as well, and he focuses on providing full-service representation that is customized to each client’s unique individual needs.

Attorney Hains represents all clients personally, and he works with his clients one-on-one to help them understand their situations, gain confidence and make informed decisions about doing what is best for themselves and their children. If you have questions about establishing, modifying or enforcing child support, Attorney Hains can help.

A Child Support Attorney With Your Best Interest at Heart

At Hains Law, LLC, Joshua R. Hains fully commits himself to every case he works on. Regardless of the size or scope, you can rest assured that Attorney Hains will provide the legal guidance you need. If you are interested in setting up a consultation, contact the office online or call 317-688-1305 today.