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Changes coming to Child Support Rules

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An order issued by the Indiana Supreme Court today amending the state's Child Support Rules and Guidelines caused two justices to dissent in part over worries a change may alter precedent. The amendments take effect Jan. 1. 2010.

Justices Frank Sullivan and Robert Rucker dissented in part from the amended guidelines because they believed they overrule Grant v. Hager, 868 N.E.2d 801 (Ind. 2007), which held there is a rebuttable presumption that neither parent owes the other support in circumstances where the Child Support Obligation Worksheet calculation produced a negative amount for the noncustodial parent's child support payment because of the application of the Parenting Time Credit. Under the amendments, there will now be a rebuttable presumption in such cases that the custodial parent must make child support payments to the noncustodial parent equal to the negative amount.

"We believe that the Guidelines' presumption in such circumstances should continue to be that neither parent owes the other support," the justices wrote. They also noted, notwithstanding this amendment, that the trial court has the authority to deviate from the Guidelines amount and order that neither parent owes the other support based on their respective incomes and parenting time arrangements if the court concludes it would be unjust not to do so, and then makes the written finding mandated by Child Support Rule 3.

In the order detailing the changes, the high court cautioned against attributing potential incomes that result in unrealistic child support obligations and may cause excessive arrearage.

"Research shows that on average more noncustodial parental involvement is associated with greater educational attainment and lower juvenile delinquency," the order noted. "Ordering support for low-income parents at levels they can reasonably pay may improve noncustodial parent-child contact, and in turn, the outcomes for their children."

Other notable changes to the guidelines:

- The order put Health Care and Medical Support, and Extraordinary Expenses into new, separate guidelines and expanded on both topics.

- A new, revised low-income adjustment sets the obligation amount for combined weekly incomes of $100 at $12 for one child; the current Guidelines assign $25 per week for one child.

- The order adjusted the schedules for weekly support payments to include combined weekly adjusted income between $4,000 and $10,000; previously a formula was provided for those incomes above $4,000. A formula will now apply to incomes above $10,000.

- Under the new guidelines, Social Security Disability benefits paid for a child are now recognized as income of the disabled parent who earned the benefits, and those benefits are included in the Weekly Gross Income of that parent. Excess SSD benefit shall be applied as payment toward an existing arrearage, and once the arrearage is satisfied, any SSD benefit that exceeds the current support obligation is considered a gratuity. The revised guidelines change the law regarding the application of SSD benefits, and the holding in Hieston v. State, N.E.2d 59 (Ind. Ct. App. 2008), and its progeny, have been superseded by the change.

In addition to the Child Support Rules and Guidelines, the Supreme Court issued an order today amending the Rules of Evidence to require certain statements be recorded before they can be entered into evidence in Indiana trial courts. Click here to read more about this change.

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  1. I work with some older lawyers in the 70s, 80s, and they are sharp as tacks compared to the foggy minded, undisciplined, inexperienced, listless & aimless "youths" being churned out by the diploma mill law schools by the tens of thousands. A client is generally lucky to land a lawyer who has decided to stay in practice a long time. Young people shouldn't kid themselves. Experience is golden especially in something like law. When you start out as a new lawyer you are about as powerful as a babe in the cradle. Whereas the silver halo of age usually crowns someone who can strike like thunder.

  2. YES I WENT THROUGH THIS BEFORE IN A DIFFERENT SITUATION WITH MY YOUNGEST SON PEOPLE NEED TO LEAVE US ALONE WITH DCS IF WE ARE NOT HURTING OR NEGLECT OUR CHILDREN WHY ARE THEY EVEN CALLED OUT AND THE PEOPLE MAKING FALSE REPORTS NEED TO GO TO JAIL AND HAVE A CLASS D FELONY ON THERE RECORD TO SEE HOW IT FEELS. I WENT THREW ALOT WHEN HE WAS TAKEN WHAT ELSE DOES THESE SCHOOL WANT ME TO SERVE 25 YEARS TO LIFE ON LIES THERE TELLING OR EVEN LE SAME THING LIED TO THE COUNTY PROSECUTOR JUST SO I WOULD GET ARRESTED AND GET TIME HE THOUGHT AND IT TURNED OUT I DID WHAT I HAD TO DO NOT PROUD OF WHAT HAPPEN AND SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SEEKING MEDICAL ATTENTION FOR MY CHILD I AM DISABLED AND SICK OF GETTING TREATED BADLY HOW WOULD THEY LIKE IT IF I CALLED APS ON THEM FOR A CHANGE THEN THEY CAN COME AND ARREST THEM RIGHT OUT OF THE SCHOOL. NOW WE ARE HOMELESS AND THE CHILDREN ARE STAYING WITH A RELATIVE AND GUARDIAN AND THE SCHOOL WON'T LET THEM GO TO SCHOOL THERE BUT WANT THEM TO GO TO SCHOOL WHERE BULLYING IS ALLOWED REAL SMART THINKING ON A SCHOOL STAFF.

  3. Family court judges never fail to surprise me with their irrational thinking. First of all any man who abuses his wife is not fit to be a parent. A man who can't control his anger should not be allowed around his child unsupervised period. Just because he's never been convicted of abusing his child doesn't mean he won't and maybe he hasn't but a man that has such poor judgement and control is not fit to parent without oversight - only a moron would think otherwise. Secondly, why should the mother have to pay? He's the one who made the poor decisions to abuse and he should be the one to pay the price - monetarily and otherwise. Yes it's sad that the little girl may be deprived of her father, but really what kind of father is he - the one that abuses her mother the one that can't even step up and do what's necessary on his own instead the abused mother is to pay for him???? What is this Judge thinking? Another example of how this world rewards bad behavior and punishes those who do right. Way to go Judge - NOT.

  4. Right on. Legalize it. We can take billions away from the drug cartels and help reduce violence in central America and more unwanted illegal immigration all in one fell swoop. cut taxes on the savings from needless incarcerations. On and stop eroding our fourth amendment freedom or whatever's left of it.

  5. "...a switch from crop production to hog production "does not constitute a significant change."??? REALLY?!?! Any judge that cannot see a significant difference between a plant and an animal needs to find another line of work.

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