A Look at Calculating Child Support in Indiana

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Posted in On April 24, 2016

How is Child Support Calculated and What Can I Expect?

How is child support calculated?  The amount of child support that is paid by one parent to the other is fact sensitive and is not the same in every case.   It is not uncommon for two parents with the same number of children, living close together geographically and making similar incomes to receive substantially different amounts of weekly child support.    In Indiana, a child support calculator is used to determine the appropriate amount of support to be paid.  The calculator was created based upon the Indiana Child Support Guidelines.  The calculator uses a weekly income number for each parent.  This number factors in all income, before taxes and other deductions are subtracted.
If a parent has other children, older or younger, adjustments are made to the gross income number being used for that parent.  Adjustments may also be made if a parent is paying or receiving any type of maintenance.   Once the appropriate adjustments are made, the weekly adjusted income, percentage share of the total income and basic child support obligation for each parent is determined.  After the basic obligation is determined, expenses for health insurance and work related child care are added to see the total child support obligation for each parent.
If either parent pays a health insurance premium for the child(ren), the amount paid is listed on the calculator and deducted from the total obligation for that parent.  It is important to note only the amount paid for the child(ren) is deducted.  With many health plans, there are different rates for the employee only and/or the employee’s family.   Work related child care expenses are also deducted from the obligation.   If children are school age, it is typical to have different child care costs through the school year and summer.  Annualizing those expenses (adding the cost for all weeks and dividing them by 52) will provide an average number that can be used to determine the amount reduced from the child support obligation for that parent.   The final deduction from the total obligation is a credit for the number of overnights exercised by the non-custodial parent in a year.  The overnight credit is incremental and intended to acknowledge the necessary costs of having children overnight.
It is important to note that there may be many other factors that impact a calculation done by attorneys or the court.   One parent may have irregular income or be voluntarily unemployed or underemployed.  For example, maybe a dad mows yards on the weekends or does snow removal.  The parents may disagree about whether that unknown and irregular income should be included, even if it has the possibility of being substantial.   Another example could be a mom that only works 20 hours in a week when she has the option of working full-time.   While the income of a new spouse is not considered for child support purposes, it may impact whether one parent works up to their earning potential.
If you or someone you know has questions about child support, Banks & Brower, LLC can assist.  Give us a call at (317) 870-0019, or email us at info@banksbrower.com.