By: Stephenie Gookins Cate Terry & Gookins, LLC, Member
Do you believe that you may be paying too much or receiving too little in child support? You may be entitled to a modification. Here are a few things you need to know to determine if you are eligible for a review of a child support order.
According to Indiana Code, a child support order can be modified for one of two purposes. 1) There are changed circumstances so substantial and continuing that the order is unreasonable; and 2) If a party demonstrates the change in child support would differ more than twenty (20%) from the amount that would be ordered under the child support guidelines and the order requested for modification was issued at least 1 year prior to the petition to modify is filed.
Child support is based on the income of both parents, health insurance premium expenses for the child(ren) only, daycare expenses, and the number of overnights the child(ren) spends with each parent. If you have had a significant decrease or increase in your income, a child support modification may be appropriate. If you have had an unexpected decrease in income, the current child support order may be unreasonable for you to pay. If the change in income was a result of a downsize or a promotion, the difference in pay may result in a 20% change in the amount you are ordered to pay. Conversely, if you have chosen to forego employment outside the home, your income may be imputed by the court to an amount that the Court finds that you could be making, likely an income similar to your last employment, if you had not chosen to quit working. If a parent has had a child born since the child support order was entered, the subsequent child will have an effect on child support calculation and would likely cause a decrease in the amount of support paid or received. Additionally, the change in parents’ incomes will likely affect the contribution that each parent is required to make toward the child’s extracurricular expenses and uninsured health care expenses.
As children enter school, daycare costs sometimes decrease. If your current child support order includes payment of daycare expenses and a child is no longer in daycare or only attends child care after school, the decrease in daycare expenses could have a significant impact on the child support order. If children are attending summer recreational camps that are used for child care purposes while parents work, the costs of the summer camp may be included in the daycare expense calculation.
As the cost of health insurance premiums change, those costs should be reflected in the child support calculation. The parent who pays the child(ren)’s health insurance premium is entitled to credit for the cost of the children’s premium in the calculation. Additionally, each parent is entitled to credit for the number of overnights the child(ren) spend with each of them in a year. If the child is spending less time with a parent than is ordered in a paternity or divorce decree, the reduction in overnight credit should be reflected in the child support calculation.
If a party is not receiving the child support payments on a regular basis, the court may impose an income withholding order (IWO) from the payor’s employer. An IWO requires an employer to withhold the weekly child support from the payor’s paycheck and deposit it into a payee’s account set up in the county clerk’s office. The county clerk distributes the child support funds to the payee upon receipt. The IWO also ensures that a proper accounting is kept of monies paid by the payor and monies received by the payee.
If you believe you have a child support order that needs to be modified, let Cate, Terry & Gookins, LLC help you. Please contact CTG attorney, Stephenie Gookins, at 317-564-0016 to set up a consultation and get your questions answered today.