At the conclusion of a divorce between two parents, a court will create a number of documents that both parties will need to adhere to in order to complete the process. This agreement will encompass custody arrangements, asset division, and, in many cases, child support payments. Understanding how courts calculate child support will help you know whether or not you are receiving — or paying — a fair amount.
How Do Indiana Courts Calculate Child Support?
Child support intends to compensate the basic physical, social, and emotional needs of the child, such as food, education, shelter, and clothing. You can also use child support to cover other expenses, such as transportation, medical care, and extracurricular activities.
Indiana family courts use a number of factors to calculate the amount of child support one parent owes to the other. The court will examine the weekly gross income of each parent, as well as the existing custodial arrangements and the number of children involved.
The court may also look at extenuating circumstances that may impact child support payments, such as additional medical expenses or the cost of childcare. You can modify existing child support agreements if you experience certain changes, including the following.
- Your income changes significantly.
- A child begins attending school full-time, which minimizes daycare expenses.
- Your child reaches the age of emancipation, which is 19 in Indiana.
Child Support Red Flags
While child support calculations vary from state to state, there are some common warning signs to watch out for before signing any agreements. Hiring an Indiana divorce attorney can help you identify these issues before an agreement passes, but looking for the following red flags may also protect your best interests.
- Modifications without court intervention: In Indiana, you cannot informally agree to change a child support order without going to court. If your former spouse tries to change the agreement without going through the proper avenues, you can experience unintended consequences.
- Payments after expiration: Child support payments should end after your child reaches the age of emancipation, or another date you and your spouse agree on when creating the initial agreement. If you notice you are still paying child support after this date passes, you are paying support you do not have to.
- No modifications for income changes: If your spouse’s income increases significantly, you may be eligible for more child support than initially outlined. Likewise, if you are the paying parent and your income decreases, you do not want to pay more support than what you can afford. If your child support agreement does not include information on what to do if the paying spouse’s income changes, you need to add these provisions.
It can be difficult to identify these warning signs without speaking to an attorney. Your lawyer will help ensure the child support agreement meets the necessary formulas and encompasses the needs of the child. Your lawyer can also connect you with additional resources, like financial experts, who can help you determine the exact amount of support you should pay or receive.
Do You Need Help with Child Support?
Child support agreements can be difficult to navigate without an attorney on your side. Your divorce lawyer will have a strong knowledge of child support calculations and considerations, and can evaluate any potential agreements to confirm they meet your best interests.
To ensure your child support is fair and you are receiving or paying the correct amount, contact an Indiana child support attorney as soon as possible.