Supreme Court issues amended child support guidelines

Amendments made to Indiana’s Child Support Guidelines have been issued by the Indiana Supreme Court following a request for public comment earlier this year.

The Domestic Relations Committee of the Judicial Conference of Indiana offered amendments to the Indiana Child Support Rules and Guidelines in April, which will go into effect Jan. 1, 2020. The Indiana Supreme Court, which has final authority over the guidelines, issued an order with the changes Friday.

Among the changes is new language concerning a parent’s legal duty to support a prior-born child when no court order exists. The amendments insert language concerning court orders for prior born children, stating that “The party seeking the adjustment for the court ordered child support obligation bears the burden of establishing the actual existence of the order and the amount of the order.”

Regarding prior born children not in the home, the guidelines now state that a deduction is allowed for reasonably necessary support actually paid, or funds actually spent for the child(ren) born prior to the child(ren) for whom support is being established. The court may also consider evidence of those funds paid or routinely spent on behalf of the prior born child(ren).

Additionally, the amendments include new language regarding the income of both known and unknown parents for prior born children in the home to compute a deduction from weekly gross income.

The changes also make clarifications to children’s health insurance costs, including that “weekly out of pocket costs of health insurance premiums only for the child(ren) should be added to the basic obligation so as to apportion that cost between the parents.”

Other changes include a modification stating that a change in circumstances may include the incarceration of a parent; that weekly gross income be set at least at the federal minimum wage level provided the resulting child support amount does not deny the obligor a means of self-support at a subsistence level; and the inclusion of in-kind benefits and payments from structured settlements as income.

The order and amended guidelines can be viewed here.

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