Child Support Lawyer | New Albany, Indiana

When a divorce or parent separation occurs and children are involved, decisions must be made about the primary residence of the child, parenting time, and support.

At Mattox & Wilson, we provide guidance and representation to clients concerning these matters.  We work hard on behalf of our clients and with opposing counsel in seeking to obtain child support, custody, and parenting time agreements that will be in the best interests of our client and their children.  If agreements cannot be reached on these matters, we are also prepared to litigate if necessary.

If you are in need of an experienced child support lawyer we invite you to contact us to discuss your case.  In the interim, this page provides information about how child support payments are determined in Indiana, including the guidelines that are considered by courts.

How Do I Begin the Child Support Process in Indiana?

Indiana has specific laws and statutes that apply to determining child support.  In general, these laws are designed to promote the welfare of the children and ensuring that their basic needs are met.  While the income of the parents is critical, there are other considerations that affect support.

Initiating child support involves filing a petition with the court. As experienced New Albany child support attorneys, we can guide you through the process, ensuring all necessary documentation is correctly prepared and submitted, advocating for a fair assessment of child support obligations.

How Is Child Support Calculated in Indiana?

Child support in Indiana is calculated according to the Indiana Child Support Guidelines. These guidelines are designed to ensure that children receive adequate financial support from their parents.  Here’s an overview of how child support is calculated under these guidelines:

  • Combined Income Approach: The guidelines start by determining the combined weekly adjusted income of both parents. This includes income from all sources, such as wages, salaries, commissions, bonuses, overtime pay, dividend income, and even certain benefits like Social Security or pensions.
  • Basic Child Support Obligation: Based on the parents’ combined income, the guidelines provide a schedule that specifies a basic child support obligation. This amount is intended to cover the child’s needs, including food, shelter, clothing, and other ordinary expenses.
  • Income Shares Model: The basic child support obligation is then divided between the parents in proportion to their individual incomes. This reflects the idea that each parent should contribute to the child’s support in accordance with their financial ability.
  • Adjustments for Parenting Time and Expenses: Adjustments may be made to the basic obligation based on the amount of parenting time each parent has with the child. Additional expenses, such as health insurance premiums for the child, work-related child care costs, and extraordinary educational expenses, can also be factored into the calculation.
  • Consideration of Other Factors: The guidelines allow for adjustments based on other factors that may affect a parent’s ability to pay or a child’s financial needs. These can include the presence of other dependents, the needs of additional children not covered by the order, and any extraordinary medical expenses.
  • Deviation from the Guidelines: Courts have the discretion to deviate from the guideline amounts if specific circumstances justify a higher or lower amount of support. Reasons for deviation must be documented and might include significant in-kind contributions, shared parenting arrangements, or unusual expenses.

New Indiana Child Support Guidelines in 2024

It’s important to note that the guidelines underwent significant updates, including a shift to the Rothbarth methodology for determining the child support amounts, as of January 1, 2024. This methodology aims to more accurately reflect current economic conditions and spending patterns regarding affected children.  It is also important to note that courts will have discretion to differ from these guidelines in making final support determinations.

Calculating child support can be complex, involving detailed financial analysis and legal understanding. Parents or guardians looking to establish, modify, or understand child support orders are advised to consult with a qualified New Albany child support lawyer or attorney who can provide personalized assistance based on the most current guidelines and legal standards.

Can Child Support Orders Be Modified in Indiana?

Yes, child support orders can be modified in Indiana. Modifications to child support orders are recognized by Indiana law when there is a significant change in circumstances that affects the financial ability of the non-custodial parent to pay the original order or the needs of the child have changed.

Significant changes that might warrant a modification include:

  • A substantial increase or decrease in either parent’s income.
  • Changes in custody arrangements.
  • A child’s increased financial needs due to health issues, education costs, or other factors.
  • A parent becoming unemployed or facing financial hardship.
  • Changes in the cost of living.
  • Changes in parenting time that significantly affect the child support calculation.
  • A child becoming emancipated.

Can Child Support Payments Be Modified if I Lose My Job?

It depends upon a number of factors, including the level of payments currently being made.  The bottom line for courts will always be to ensure that the level of support being provided adequately covers the needs of the child or children.

In some instances, a parent may face an unexpected job loss or other situation which results in the parent becoming suddenly unable to make support payments.  If this happens, this is an important issue that needs to be promptly addressed with a child support lawyer, ideally before payments are missed or not made in full.

Please note that courts will not automatically reduce support obligations simply because a parent loses his or her job, as the children still need to be provided with food, clothing, and other support. Instead, courts normally will expect the parent paying support to do whatever they can to find a new job (or jobs) so that the necessary support can be provided. They may also require a parent to pay support out of their savings in the event of a job loss.  Support modification in the event of a job loss will be highly fact-specific.

Child Support Collection Lawyers

As child support collection lawyers, we represent clients who are not receiving support payments from their former spouse in seeking to collect amounts that are owed to the children.  In some cases, we will also represent a spouse who may seek a reduction in support payments in certain extenuating circumstances, such as he or she become severely incapacitated.

What Must Be Done to Modify a Child Support Order in Indiana?

To modify a child support order in Indiana, the parent seeking the modification must file a petition with the court that originally issued the order. The petition should detail the reasons for the requested modification, supported by evidence of the change in circumstances. The court will then review the petition, and if it finds that there has been a substantial and continuing change in circumstances, it may modify the child support order accordingly.

Until a court officially modifies the order, the original child support amount remains in effect, and all payments must be made as scheduled. Failing to pay child support because you believe a modification should be in place can lead to enforcement actions against you.

Given the complexities involved in modifying child support orders and the need to provide adequate evidence for the change in circumstances, consulting with a New Albany child support modification lawyer can be crucial. We can help you understand your rights, the legal process, and assist in gathering and presenting the necessary documentation to support your petition for modification.

How Mattox & Wilson Can Help

Contact Mattox & Wilson to discuss your child support concerns. Our dedicated attorneys are committed to advocating for the best interests of you and your child, providing the support and guidance you need during these challenging times.

To learn more about our representation in child support matters, please call our firm so that we can schedule a meeting to learn about your matter.

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