Even if parents are divorced, they are still obliged to raise their common minor children. In the process of marriage dissolution, the spouses share custody of the children, and they are responsible not only for upbringing the child, but also for his or her financial support.
What is child support?
Both parents must provide financial assistance for their minor children, regardless of when they divorced or how long they were married. Child support – this is precisely the financial support that is under responsibility of the parents. The amount of the allowance is established on the basis of a court decision, with the majority paid by the non-custodial parent (the parent who spends less time with the child), while it is considered that the second parent (main custodian) is responsible for the child’s daily expenses. Financial support for a child is not a way to punish parents. This is a child’s airbag until he or she comes of age. If the noncustodial parent refuses to pay financial support to the child, he or she becomes a debtor and the custodial parent has the right to sue for debt collection.
What does child support cover?
Child support covers many aspects of a kid’s life. This includes health insurance and medical services, as well as expenses for education, including private schools, technical or business schools, additional courses and higher education. Support also covers the child’s daily expenses, including food, clothing, travel and entertainment. It is worth paying attention to the fact that scout organizations or summer camps are not included in the amount of financial support, so they can be paid by agreement of the parents. Gifts to a child for any holidays are also not included in the amount support.
How to calculate child support?
The amount of financial support for the child is always determined by the court. This means that even if the divorce is uncontested and the spouses have a settlement agreement, they cannot independently indicate the amount of child support. Such a decision is made only by a judge on the basis of the Indiana Child Support Guidelines. According to the guidelines gross weekly income is used for the calculation. All income is verified using government documentation, so it’s very important for spouses to file correct income declarations with the court.
Primarily, the court considers all sources of income of the spouses, including wages, rent, commissions, bonuses, any irregular income, reimbursement of expenses, potential income, etc. After all sources of income have been determined, the court will apply the Child Support Obligation Worksheet to calculate the necessary amount of support.
In addition, there is the Indiana online child support calculator, where parents can independently calculate and become familiar with the amount of possible support.
When does child support end?
Financial support for a child is not lifelong. In Indiana, financial support ceases when a child reaches 19 years old, from this age he /she is considered sufficiently independent to support himself / herself. However, if the child has some diseases and is incapacitated, then financial support continues even after 19 years until the judge decides that the support should be terminated. Payments also automatically stop if the child dies.
If a child under the age of 19 enters into marriage or on military service, financial support also stops.
There are a number of circumstances in which support can be terminated by a court decision before the child reaches 19 years old. But for this all factors below must be fulfilled:
- The child is already 18 years old.
- The child did not attend secondary or higher school (depending on where he or she is studying) for the last 4 months.
- At the present moment the child is not in secondary school.
- A child can financially support himself/herself.
What if one of the parents does not work?
The court carefully investigate financial situation of each parent. If the judge decides that one of the spouses does not work, but has all the possibilities for this, he can impute the income to this parent. In most cases, the court imposes a minimum wage, on the basis of which financial support will be calculated. Although the judge has the right to review the income of a non-working spouse over the past 4 years and impute income on the basis of the analyzed data.
If the parent’s income is only SSI (Supplemental Security Income), the judge is not entitled to impute income. Such a parent is exempt from payment of financial support.
Mom and dad are responsible for their children even if long divorced. The financial support of the child plays an important role in this matter, since it opens up certain opportunities for the kid. But you should always remember that money cannot replace the love and warmth of parents.