Lebanon Reporter

Commentary

March 26, 2010

Modification of Indiana child support guidelines

Lebanon — Modification of Indiana child support guidelines

On Jan. 1, 2010, the Indiana Child Support Guidelines were revised.

The following issues, among others, were revised.

Imputation of Income: Previously, courts often imputed income to an unemployed party. The guidelines now encourage courts to impute income only when the unemployment or underemployment is “without just cause.” For instance, some parents stay home because they cannot make enough income to make childcare costs reasonable. Previously, many courts would impute income to these parents for child support purpose. The guidelines now state that in order to impute income, the Court should consider whether the underemployment or unemployment is a result of a disability, health issue, excessive childcare costs or similar circumstances.

Raising child support plateau for high income earners: Previously the child support schedules maxed-out when a couple earned $208,000 per year. After the income level reached $208,000 per year, the guidelines applied a formula that had the effect of causing support amounts to plateau as incomes increased. Under the new guidelines, the schedules max-out when a couple has a combine annual adjusted income of $520,000 and the plateau causing formula has become a simpler linear calculation.

“Negative” child support number: Under the old guidelines, there was a question as to how to treat “negative” child support calculations for the non-custodial parent. Under the new guidelines the custodial parent may have to pay child support to a non-custodial parent if there is a “negative” support figure.

Modification of child support: Previously, modifications of support could be ordered no earlier than the date a Petition to Modify Child Support was filed with the court. Now, there are two exceptions to modification prior to the date of filing. One exception is if the parties have agreed to carry out an alternative method of payment that substantially complies with the prior order. The other exception is that the paying parent takes the child into his/her home and assumes custody, provides necessities, and exercises parental control for a period of time such that a permanent change of custody is exercised.

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