Child support arrearage dispute sent back to trial court

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The Indiana Court of Appeals instructed a trial court to do the work necessary before entering an order garnishing a parent’s money for child support.  

A father, incarcerated in the Indiana Department of Correction, disputed an income withholding order that garnished his inmate trust fund account to pay down his child support arrearages.

He pointed to a pre-dispositional report from April 2008 that found he did not have the ability to pay child support and that no arrears would be sought against him. Also, the father noted the court had not issued a new order regarding payment of the arrearages.

The father then requested a hearing to present evidence that the arrearage never should have accrued, to determine the amount of any arrearage owed, and to determine the monthly amount he should pay, if any. In addition, he requested the court suspend the garnishment of his prison account until his release from incarceration.

The trial court issued an “Order Denying Father’s Request to Disallow Income Withholding Order.”

The Court of Appeals concluded the trial court abused its discretion in denying the father’s motion in In Re: Paternity of J.M.; C.M. v. T.S., 18A02-1308-JP-684.
It reversed and remanded with instructions to conduct an evidentiary hearing for the purpose of determining the arrearage amount and the father’s ability to pay plus a payment schedule.

In reaching its conclusion, the Court of Appeals pointed out that the trial court never entered an income withholding order with respect to any arrearage and, in fact, never entered an order which required the father to make payments toward his arrearage.

Also, the lower court did not hear any evidence about the father’s ability to pay his arrearage. The trial court did not establish the total amount of the arrearage or set up a payment schedule.

Judge Margaret Robb wrote a separate opinion. She concurred in substance with the majority’s opinion but pointed out the trial court’s denial was signed only by a magistrate and not reviewed or approved by the judge.


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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.