ILNews

Judges reverse insurance double credit

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2009
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A trial court erred when it issued a mother two health insurance credits instead of one, which led to a miscalculation of the child support owed between the parents, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.

In D.W. v. L.W., No. 20A04-0907-CV-375, father D.W. paid child support to his ex-wife L.W. for his three minor children, who lived with their mother. The mother paid nearly $57 a week in premiums for health insurance covering the three kids.

One of the children eventually moved in with the father and the child support order was modified. The trial court granted the mother a health insurance credit of $57 per week for 2007, and ordered father's child support obligation re-set to $12 a week during the 2007-2008 time period. The trial court relied on two offsetting child support worksheets, which separately calculated the father's obligation with respect to the two kids living with the mother and the mother's offsetting obligation with respect to the child living with the father. Both worksheets included the health insurance credit and a corresponding $57 credit to the mother.

The trial court denied the father's motion to correct error.

The Court of Appeals found the trial court erred by granting a $114 credit to the mother, rather than the single $57 per week credit. Under the Indiana Child Support Rules and Guidelines, it would be correct for the court to add $57 per week to the basic child support amount for all three children and give the mother a credit for the same amount. This case is not straightforward though, wrote Judge Margret Robb, because the mother paid the premium for all three kids, but only two lived with her.

"The guidelines do not provide specific guidance for the resulting question of how a single health insurance premium is to be divided among the children and the two worksheets for purposes of calculating any credit due the paying parent," she wrote.

The father argued for a prorated premium and credit under the circumstances but didn't cite any authority to support it. But the results of the two worksheets are ultimately combined, and the Court of Appeals can't say the trial court's failure to divide the costs and credits between the two worksheets was an abuse of discretion by itself.

The appellate court did agree with the father that it was improper for the court to credit the mother twice for the health insurance premium. The trial court made no finding that deviation from the guidelines was appropriate based on the circumstances of the case.

"Further, if either parent had custody of all three minor children, the language of the guidelines would instruct the trial court to count the credit only once. We see no reason to count the credit twice here, simply because Mother has custody of only two of the children," wrote Judge Robb.

The appellate court remanded with instructions the trial court order mother to pay the father $23 per week in child support for the 2007-2008 time period and determine any support arrearage owing between the two.
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  1. Paul Ogden doing a fine job of remembering his peer Gary Welsh with the post below and a call for an Indy gettogether to celebrate Gary .... http://www.ogdenonpolitics.com/2016/05/indiana-loses-citizen-journalist-giant.html Castaways of Indiana, unite!

  2. It's unfortunate that someone has attempted to hijack the comments to promote his own business. This is not an article discussing the means of preserving the record; no matter how it's accomplished, ethics and impartiality are paramount concerns. When a party to litigation contracts directly with a reporting firm, it creates, at the very least, the appearance of a conflict of interest. Court reporters, attorneys and judges are officers of the court and must abide by court rules as well as state and federal laws. Parties to litigation have no such ethical responsibilities. Would we accept insurance companies contracting with judges? This practice effectively shifts costs to the party who can least afford it while reducing costs for the party with the most resources. The success of our justice system depends on equal access for all, not just for those who have the deepest pockets.

  3. As a licensed court reporter in California, I have to say that I'm sure that at some point we will be replaced by speech recognition. However, from what I've seen of it so far, it's a lot farther away than three years. It doesn't sound like Mr. Hubbard has ever sat in a courtroom or a deposition room where testimony is being given. Not all procedures are the same, and often they become quite heated with the ends of question and beginning of answers overlapping. The human mind can discern the words to a certain extent in those cases, but I doubt very much that a computer can yet. There is also the issue of very heavy accents and mumbling. People speak very fast nowadays, and in order to do that, they generally slur everything together, they drop or swallow words like "the" and "and." Voice recognition might be able to produce some form of a transcript, but I'd be very surprised if it produces an accurate or verbatim transcript, as is required in the legal world.

  4. Really enjoyed the profile. Congratulations to Craig on living the dream, and kudos to the pros who got involved to help him realize the vision.

  5. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

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