Parents have an obligation to provide financial support for their children. This responsibility continues even after a couple divorces or separates.
Indiana’s family law governs child support. A parent who is caring for a child is typically eligible for support. However, a parent who was not married to the child’s other parent must first establish the child’s paternity.
Courts use a child support worksheet and standard guidelines to calculate support. Worksheet data rely on the parents’ incomes and other expenses such as child support, education and health insurance.
Circumstances determine when child support begins. These include whether the other parent’s whereabouts are known, whether the other parent is employed, whether that parents is willing to pay support and the amount of the support that parent owes.
Federal law requires child support offices to obtain a support order or begin support proceedings within 90 days of finding the other parent.
Receiving support can be delayed after the other parent begins payments. Living in another state may delay the payment process, for example.
Private attorneys and government prosecutors can assist parents who are seeking unpaid support. Remedies include taking money from delinquent parent paychecks, taking that parent’s tax refunds, reporting them to credit bureaus, placing liens on real estate and vehicles and suspending driver or professional licenses. Courts may also incarcerate delinquent parents.
A parent can file a petition seeking a child support modification. Supporting parents should not change their support without court approval, even if they lose their job or suffer an illness.
Courts may find that support payments are unreasonable if the paying parent loses their job, the receiving parent obtains a new job with a much higher income, there is a a change in child custody, the child becomes disabled or requires more medical care or the child goes to college.
Courts may also modify support if the amount of support ordered before was 20% more or less than what the support would be now and it has been over one year since the court’s last support order.
Support orders from another state may be registered in an Indian county court. Afterward, an Indiana court can change that order if both parents and the child live or used to live in Indiana.
Attorneys may assist parents in seeking a fair and reasonable support order. They can also help enforce these orders and obtain modifications.