IndyBar: Emancipation and IV-D

By Heather Ressler, Marion County Prosecutor’s Office

The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office can be very helpful to parents (both custodial and noncustodial) that have children emancipating. We may be able to make the process much easier for your clients and for you as we frequently see attorneys doing extra work that isn’t necessary. Often, attorneys may not know if the case is a IV-D case but you can contact our office to find out.

Our office cannot assist with filing a petition to emancipate before the child turns 19 years old. If a parent believes that a child is emancipated under Indiana Code § 31-16-6-6 (2017), the party or their attorney must file the petition.

If an in gross order is in effect and an older child emancipates, the order must be modified to make any changes to the child support account. Our office can assist parties with filing the petition to modify upon request. Please keep in mind that if a party is represented, our office cannot assist them with filing a petition to modify and they will be directed to contact their attorney. Once an unrepresented party contacts us to modify, our office will set up an interview with the party and request that they provide us with financial documents. We will then review them for a filing determination.

Any case that is a IV-D case will automatically stop charging current support when the youngest child reaches the age of 19. It will not happen immediately though. The system will charge the NCP for the entire month at the beginning of the month and the obligation will not terminate until the following month.

What this means for parents:

1. If the parent owes arrears, any overpayment will be applied to the arrears.

2. If the parent has no arrears, this can result in an overpayment to the custodial parent.

How Our Office Can Assist

If the case is a IV-D case, a party or their attorney can contact our office and let us know about the emancipation and we can place a hold on the case to manually stop the child support. A parent paying by income withholding may see an extra payment or two come out of their paychecks, depending on how long their employer takes to process the withholding termination. If that should happen, a refund to the payor can be processed for the money that is on hold. If an overpayment to the custodial parent has already disbursed, the payor will need to recover the overpayment directly from the custodial parent. Our office does not get involved with any kind of recovery of the overpayment from the custodial parent. The noncustodial parent would be directed to contact a private attorney or file something with the court themselves.

Often, we see cases where the child support has already terminated, and a party’s attorney files a petition to emancipate. This is usually unnecessary. If a client is concerned, you can contact our office. We can make sure the child support obligation was closed at the correct time and can provide you with any remaining arrears balance owed. Payment histories can be obtained from the Clerk’s Office, and if the party believes there is a mistake, you can submit documentation of missing pay, missing orders or any other information to our office and we can review the case. This will usually correct any errors and may make it unnecessary to file anything with the court.

As with any modification to child support, if you have an order to modify child support, that order must be taken to the Clerk’s Office to have the account updated in ISETS. If you know the case is a IV-D case, you should also provide a copy to our office so we can make sure the account is updated. We often receive orders several months and even years after the order is issued, which causes accounts to be over or underpaid.•

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