The Indiana child support guidelines state that a child’s quality of life should not be affected by a divorce. One tool the courts use to ensure children are able to maintain their lifestyle is child support, which is typically paid by the noncustodial parent.
If you’re filing for a divorce with a child involved, you may be wondering how much child support you should expect to pay or receive. Here’s how child support payments are calculated in Indiana:
Calculate Weekly Gross Income
The Indiana Supreme Court provides the public with an online child support calculator which can give you an initial idea of how these calculations work. However, this calculator is no substitute for a skilled attorney to look after your best interest insuring you obtain the maximum amount possible, or that the opposing party does not take you to the cleaners.
First, the court will calculate the weekly gross income of each parent. This total will include any income earned through wages, salaries, rental income, royalties, Social Security benefits, veterans’ benefits, commissions, and dividend payments.
The value of “imputed” income sources, which include the use of a company car, free housing, or reimbursement for meals, will also be added since these benefits greatly reduce a parent’s cost of living.
Then, the parents will need to input their weekly gross income information on this Child Support Obligation Worksheet. The state of Indiana allows parents to adjust their weekly gross income if they have other children they have to provide for or if they are currently paying spousal support. Parents will be asked to provide this information on the worksheet so the court can calculate their weekly adjusted income.
It is the weekly adjusted income, not the weekly gross income, which is used to calculate basic child support payments.
For example, if your weekly gross income is $1000, but you have to pay $100 a week in spousal support, your weekly adjusted income would be $900. This would be reduced even further if you are currently providing for other children.
Both parents’ weekly adjusted income will be added together. Then, the court will use a chart to determine how much of the parents’ total weekly adjusted income should be used to provide for the child.
For example, parents who have a combined weekly adjusted income of $1000 would be expected to allocate $152 to care for one child, but this amount increases if you have more than one child.
How much of the $152 will each of the parents be expected to provide?
It depends on their income. If each parent has a weekly adjusted income of $500, they will divide this $152 in half. However, if one parent makes more than the other, he or she will contribute more.
After the basic child support obligation has been calculated, the court may choose to factor in other expenses, such as the cost of child care or health insurance.
Noncustodial parents can also earn “parenting time credits” by spending more overnights with their children.
These credits reduce the amount of child support that noncustodial parents have to pay since they are taking a financial burden off of the custodial parent by spending more time caring for the child.
It’s important to note that these are just guidelines established by the state of Indiana, and the judge has the power to deviate from these guidelines if he sees fit.
Estimating child support payments can be challenging, but an experienced family law attorney can help. Our compassionate team of attorneys will ensure that your child’s best interests are protected during disputes over child support.