With over 60 years of combined experience, our lawyers understand how support matters play out in court. Whether child support is needed pursuant to a divorce, paternity, or third-party custody action, we help clients understand their rights, negotiate fair and workable settlements, and, if necessary, present their cases to the court.
As required by federal law, Indiana has adopted minimal guidelines that serve as a child support calculator in most straightforward cases. Even these guidelines, however, are complex when compared to those of other states. In simplest terms, Indiana determines a total child support obligation by calculating the combined weekly income of both parents adjusted for prior support obligations, and other allowable expenses — and apportions that obligation between the parents based on their percentage share of the total income. Courts may further adjust this basic support obligation for child health insurance, extraordinary medical and educational expenses, and the allocation of overnights/parenting time.
While these guidelines are presumed to yield a fair result, Indiana courts may deviate from them at their discretion. An attorney can argue for a greater or lesser amount based on the custodial parent’s resources, the child’s prior standard of living, the child’s exceptional medical or educational needs, and the financial condition of the payor parent.
Due to a recent change in Indiana law, the obligation to pay child support now ends at age 19 unless the child is incapacitated or otherwise incapable of self-support. Support may end before age 19 only if the child is legally emancipated. There is no automatic mechanism to terminate support and a petition must be filed to legally emancipate the child.
The sharing of college or post-high school vocational training is very fact sensitive. Either parent or the child may file a petition seeking such a contribution to college or post-high school vocational training, which typically needs to be ordered by the Court prior to a child’s 19th birthday. If a court has established a duty to support a child in a court order issued before July 1, 2012, a parent or child has until the child turns 21 years of age to file a petition for educational needs. Failure to timely act could deprive a child of assistance with these important life-altering educational expenses. Given the many nuances in this area of the law, consultation with one of our attorneys before any child reaches 19 years of age is strongly encouraged.
Child support orders are subject to modification under certain circumstances. Please refer to our Modification of Orders page for more information on this topic.
The obligation to pay or the right to receive child support can drastically change your finances for years to come. At Shilts & Setlak, LLC, Mike and Emily, our child support attorneys, can explain your rights and help you negotiate a support resolution that meets your individual circumstances. If you are considering divorce, seeking child support, or have been sued for support, contact Shilts & Setlak, LLC for compassionate assistance.