Noncustodial parents in Indiana are required to pay child support to ensure that their children are properly cared for and to prevent them from becoming a burden on the state, but the amount they pay may be modified in certain situations. When calculating child support, family law judges consider the needs of the child and the amount of money both of the parents involved earn. If the needs of the child change or one or both of the parents experience a significant increase or decrease in income, a child support order may be adjusted.
Modifying child support in Indiana
Indiana law allows family law judges to modify child support orders when there is a substantial change in circumstances that is likely to be permanent. They can also grant modifications when the existing order is at least 12 months old and recalculating the amount of support using the latest Department of Child Services guidelines would result in an increase or decrease in the monthly payments by at least 20%. Either parent can request a modification, and both parents are given an opportunity to make their case during modification hearings. Factors that could lead to a child support modification include:
• One of the parents losing their job or taking a new job with lower pay
• The child developing a medical condition that requires prolonged and costly treatment
• Increases in the cost of child-related expenses that would result in an increase of at least 20% under the current guidelines
Judges do not grant post-divorce modifications like changes to child support orders unless the party seeking modification can produce evidence that supports their argument. In child support cases, this evidence is likely to include recent pay stubs or tax returns and statements or bills that show a significant increase or decrease in medical or educational costs.
Past due child support
Noncustodial parents who do not make their required child support payments can lose their driving privileges, be denied a passport and have their income tax refunds and lottery winnings seized. The state can also garnish their wages to collect payments that are past due. However, custodial parents are not allowed to deny noncustodial parents access to their children over financial issues as it would not be in the best interests of the child.