On January 1st, 2024, big changes are coming to Indiana’s child support system. On October 17th, 2023, the state’s Supreme Court made some adjustments to the Child Support Rules and Guidelines, reshaping how courts determine child support payments.
According to a recent study by Texas Divorce Laws, Indiana ranks 10th in the U.S. for the highest divorce rate. With so many divorces, parents need to stay up-to-date about child support requirements.
Understanding child support orders
Child support orders, according to Indiana Code 31-16-6-1, are when courts tell parents to pay a fair amount for their child or children’s support. These orders cover the basics like a place to live, food, clothes, education, childcare and insurance.
Doing the math
Calculating child support involves considering various factors laid out in the Indiana Child Support Rules and Guidelines. These factors include how many children there are, each parent’s income, other child support responsibilities, spousal support, childcare expenses, health insurance, educational costs and the time each parent spends with the children.
The Guideline Schedules for Weekly Support Payments start the process, followed by the Indiana Child Support Worksheet for the final calculation.
A new weekly support schedule
The most significant change in the 2024 updates introduces a revised weekly child support schedule based on the Rothbarth method. This method aims to better estimate child spending by looking at how parents adjust their own spending. This new schedule promises a more accurate view of child-related expenses.
Support payments under this updated structure can go up or down based on income and the number of children.
Deviations and parenting time credits
The order clarifies that the child support guidelines are a good starting point, but there might be reasons to change things. Courts must now record the justification for deviations from recommended child support amounts.
There is a new way to calculate parenting time credits if a parent spends a different number of nights with their children. This aims to make sure things are fair in families with multiple children.
Updates also touch on healthcare expenses when parents share custody. The parent with custody when the expense happens covers it, and both parents chip in based on their incomes. The court ensures the parent with insurance proves it and keeps things clear for everyone. This change eliminates the 6% rule for out-of-pocket healthcare expenses.
The last updates to child support guidelines happened in 1989. The current changes show a big effort to make child support rules more in tune with how families live today.