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Child Support: What Should You Expect to Owe?

Child Support: What Should You Expect to Owe?

Although it can be difficult to determine how much you owe in Child Support, there are many resources available that can make the process much smoother.

The Indiana Child Support Guidelines (“Guidelines”) are used to determine everything concerning child support, including determination of child support amount, modification, deviation from the guideline amount, and so on. The basic model used by the Guidelines to determine child support is the income shares model. Using this model allows the child to receive the same portion of a parent’s income that they would have received had their parents lived together.

The first step in calculating child support is determining which parent is the custodial and which is the non-custodial parent. Typically, this is stated in your court order on the subject, but the terms are used to differentiate which parent has more overnight visits with the child during the year. A custodial parent has more overnight visits with the child than the noncustodial parent. Usually, the non-custodial parent’s support obligation is higher than a custodial parent’s support obligation. The number of overnight visits each parent has with the children is used to calculate what percentage of each parent’s income will be used to support the children.

The next big step is determining what the combined weekly gross income is between both parents. As defined by the Guidelines, weekly gross income is the “actual weekly gross income of the parent if employed to full capacity, potential income if unemployed or underemployed, and the value of ‘in kind’ benefits received by the parent.” The Guidelines outline what can be included in gross income and what is excluded. Once both parents’ weekly gross income is added up, the Guidelines provide the Schedules for Weekly Support Payment where the combined gross income of the parents are used to determine how much child support each parent needs to provide according to the number of children that the parents share.

To finalize the calculation, the parents’ cost of health insurance for the children, child care expenses, and whether either parent has prior born or subsequent born children are factored into the calculation. When these factors are determined, a parent then multiplies the percentage of how much each parent contributes to the total weekly gross income and that is how much each parent owes towards the child support.

For example, if one parent contributes 60% of the total weekly gross income between the two parents, they will provide 60% of the child support. It is also presumed that the custodial parent pays their child support directly for the children, while the non-custodial parent will pay their portion to the custodial parent.
There are circumstances where modifications in child support are permitted. Modification is allowed if there’s been a substantial change in circumstances that makes the current order unreasonable or if the order was issued more than one (1) year ago and there has been a twenty percent (20%) change in either parent’s income.

Determining how much you owe in child support can be a time consuming and tricky matter. McNeely Law has experienced family law attorneys able and ready to assist you through this process. Contact the Family Law Attorneys at McNeelyLaw LLP today for an evaluation of your case.

This McNeelyLaw LLP publication should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion of any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own lawyer on any specific legal questions you may have concerning your situation.

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