Child Support

There are a number of child-related financial issues to address in a divorce or paternity case. The main financial issue related to children is child support ---  a weekly payment from one parent to the other, made through the clerk of court or the Indiana State Central Collection Unit. 

 

In general, the custodial parent is responsible for the child's controlled expenses out of pocket, and the non-custodial parent contributes to those expenses via the child support obligation. The Indiana Child Support Rules and Guidelines define "controlled expenses" as the kind of expense that is "typically paid by the custodial parent and is not transferred or duplicated.  Controlled expenses are items like clothing, education, school books and supplies, ordinary uninsured health care and personal care." Even though child support is usually paid by a non-custodial parent, it is also possible for a custodial parent to be ordered to pay child support, or for a parent with joint physical custody to be ordered to pay support, depending on each parent's income level. This is because the child support calculation is based on an "income shares" model, and the goal is to give the child the benefit of both parents' income. 

 

Indiana has a form called the Child Support Obligation Worksheet (CSOW) that is used to calculate support payments.  The CSOW uses the weekly gross (before taxes) income of each parent, the number of children, and a few other factors, including the cost of the children's health insurance and work-related child care, and the number of overnights each parent has with the children, to arrive at a recommended child support figure.  There is a presumption that child support should be ordered at the level recommended by the CSOW. Once child support is ordered, in general, Indiana requires an Income Withholding Order that takes money directly from the payor's paycheck and sends it through the state to a direct deposit or debit card for the receiving parent.  

Other child-related financial issues that parents or the court may address include:

Which parent will provide health insurance for the child?

Who claims the children for tax purposes?

How are extracurricular activity costs shared?

Who is responsible for uninsured medical expenses? 
Will the parents be responsible for all or part of the costs associated with the child's college education?  

Will the parents be responsible for the costs of a child's cell phone, vehicle, or vehicle insurance?

Disclaimer:  This summary is not intended to be comprehensive, and should not be construed as legal advice for your particular situation. Nothing in this website is intended to serve as or substitute for legal representation.