IndianaChild Support Laws
Indiana Child Support Guide :: Table of Contents
Child support is an ongoing payment by a non-custodial parent to assist with the financial support of their children. Child support payments are often determined during the process of dissolution of a marriage through divorce, though the only requirements for requesting child support payments are establishment of paternity and maternity.
Child support is handled on a state level, and Indiana has a set of specific child support guidelines. On this page you can learn about how child support is calculated in Indiana, how custody split and extraordinary costs affect child support payments, and more.
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Indiana uses the "income share" method for calculating child support payments, which is designed to ensure that both the custodial and non-custodial parents contribute to their child's upkeep.
Indiana's child support formula directly accounts for parents who share custody of a child, and support payment amounts are connected to the custody split. Other special situations accounted for under Indiana's child support law include childcare costs, extraordinary medical costs and college costs. These costs may be additions to the basic Indiana child support order.
Which Factors are Considered in Determining Child Support?In an action for dissolution of marriage under IC 31-15-2, legal separation under IC 31-15-3, child support under IC 31-16-2, or establishment of paternity under IC 31-14, the court may order either parent or both parents to pay any amount reasonable for support of a child, without regard to marital misconduct, after considering all relevant factors, including:
- the financial resources of the custodial parent
The standard of living the child would have enjoyed if:
- the marriage had not been dissolved
- the separation had not been ordered
- in the case of a paternity action, the parents had been married and remained married to each other
- the physical or mental condition of the child and the child's educational needs
- the financial resources and needs of the noncustodial parent.
The court shall order that child support payments ordered under this section be immediately withheld from the income of the parent obligated to pay child support as provided under IC 31-16-15-0.5.
The court shall order a custodial parent or third party under IC 31-16-10-1 who receives child support to obtain an account at a financial institution unless:
- the custodial parent or third party files a written objection before a child support order is issued
- the court finds that good cause exists to exempt the custodial parent or third party from the account requirement.
Child support can be arranged out of court by a mutual support agreement between the parents, or can be decided in Indiana family court through a child support order. In Indiana, a number of factors are taken into account when determining the amount of child support to be paid in court. Here is an explanation of the two most common methods used to calculate basic child support amounts.
Income Share Method
Under the income share model, the court uses economic tables to estimate the total monthly cost of raising the children. The non-custodial parent pays a percentage of the calculated cost that is based on their proportional share of both parents' combined income.
Example: The non-custodial parent of one child has an income of $2,000 per month, and the custodial parent has an income of $1,000 per month. The court estimates that the cost of raising one child is $1,000 a month. The non-custodial parent's income is 66.6% of the parent's total combined income. Therefore, the non-custodial parent pays $666 per month in child support, or 66.6% of the total child support obligation.
Percentage Of Income Method
This method of calculating child support is simple - a set percentage of the non-custodial parent's income is paid monthly to the custodial parent to cover basic child support expenses. The percentage paid may stay the same, or vary if the non-custodial parent's income changes.
Example: The non-custodial parent of one child has an income of $2,000 per month. The court orders a flat percentage of 25% of the non-custodial parent's income to be paid in child support to the custodial parent. Therefore, the non-custodial parent pays $500 per month in child support. If the non-custodial parent's monthly income changes, the dollar amount they pay in child support will change as well.
Indiana Child Support FAQ
- How does having shared custody of the child affect child support in Indiana?
- How are extraordinary medical costs treated by child support in Indiana?
- How are child care costs treated by child support in Indiana?
- Does child support cover college education expenses in Indiana?
- How is child support enforced in Indiana?
- What are child support arrears?
- How are child support payments taxed in Indiana?
How does having shared custody of the child affect child support in Indiana?
All states have a method of modifying the amount of child support owed in cases where the custody agreement provides for joint or shared custody of a child between both parents.
Indiana law accounts for shared custody of a child directly in the child support formula used to calculate payment amounts. This means that, in cases where custody is shared, the amount of child support paid by the paying parent will be reduced according to the amount of time they have custody of the child.
How are extraordinary medical costs treated by child support in Indiana?
Indiana has specialized guidelines for the sharing of a child's extraordinary medical care costs that are separate from, and in addition to, basic child support payments. Extraordinary medical costs are generally costs generated by things such as illness, hospital visits, or costly procedures such as getting braces.
Indiana treats extraordinary medical care costs as a "mandatory deduction" for basic child support. This means that if the non-custodial parent pays child care costs, the portion of the total monthly child care costs attributed to the custodial partner are deducted from the noncustodial partner's monthly child support payment. If the custodial parent pays for child care, the non-custodial parent must pay their share in addition to basic child support.
How are child care costs treated by child support in Indiana?
Due to the high costs of child care for a single payment, Indiana has specialized guidelines that consider child care costs separately from the general costs of raising a child for the purposes of calculating child support payments.
Indiana treats child care costs as a "mandatory deduction" for basic child support. This means that if the non-custodial parent pays child care costs, the portion of the total monthly child care costs attributed to the custodial partner are deducted from the noncustodial partner's monthly child support payment. If the custodial parent pays for child care, the non-custodial parent must pay their share in addition to basic child support.
Does child support cover college education expenses in Indiana?
Indiana state law does allow courts to order the non-custodial parent to contribute to their child's college education upon graduating high school. Whether post-secondary education support is ordered, and the amount that may be ordered, varies depending on the situation.
How is child support enforced in Indiana?
In the state of Indiana, child support is enforced by the state child support agency. The state agency handles the location of non-custodial parents, enforcement of support orders, and the handling of unpaid child support arrears.
What are child support arrears?
Child support arrears are the amount of child support that is delinquent, or unpaid, by the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent. Child support arrears may be collected by the state through wage garnishment, bank levy. withholding of Indiana welfare benefits, or other collection methods.
How are child support payments taxed in Indiana?
Under IRS guidelines, the recepient of child support does not need to pay federal tax on child support payments, and the payer of child support cannot deduct their child support payments. This differs from the federal taxation of alimony payments, which are treated as taxable income by the receiver and are deductible by the payor. Indiana tax law may vary on tax treatment of child support.