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Indiana child support, custody, visitation, and wage garnishment rules

Use this Indiana child support law to learn about your child support rights and responsibilites.

How is Indiana child support determined?

In Indiana, either or both parents could receive a court order to provide child support for the child, without regard to marital fault. The child support court order may also include medical, hospital dental and educational support. The factors the courts consider are:

  • the standard of living the child would have enjoyed if the marriage had not ended
  • the physical and emotional health and educational needs of the child
  • the financial resources, needs and obligations of each parent

There are specific Indiana Child Support Guidelines, designed to be in the best interests of the child, that the courts use to determine the correct amount of child support. These will be followed, unless there is an exception for deviation which is approved by the court.

Indiana does not use net income to determine child support. Indiana uses gross income amounts. In addition, Indiana provides that child support is payable until the age of 21 unless the child is emancipated. It also provides for a sharing of post-secondary education expenses.

At what age does child support payments end?

Generally, the obligation ends when the child reaches 18 years of age or the child graduates from high school, whichever occurs later.

Indiana's custody guidelines:

Yes. Usually parents are able to reach an agreement about the custody, child support and visitation concerning their children. If they cannot, then the courts will decide these issues for them.

Sole custody may be awarded based on the best interests of the child and the following factors:

  • the age and sex of the child
  • the preference of the child
  • the wishes of the parents
  • the child's adjustment to home, school and community settings
  • the physical and mental health of all involved
  • the relationship the child has with each family member
  • whether there has been domestic violence

Indiana does not have a statutory provision for joint physical custody although the parties may agree to it.

Indiana does have a statutory provision for joint legal custody. This means that the parties share decision-making with regard to religion, education and medical care for the children. If the parents cannot communicate with one another, the court will not award joint legal custody.

Even when joint legal custody is ordered, the custodial parent has the final decision-making power.

Indiana's medical insurance guidelines:

Generally, the decision as to which parent is going to provide medical insurance coverage for the child and how medical bills will be paid is set out in the marital settlement agreement. If it is not, then the child support court order may include medical, hospital and dental support. Usually, if a reasonable medical insurance plan is available through one of the parent’s employment, they are required to cover their child on it.

How permanent are the provisions for Indiana child support and custody ?

Court orders providing for support and custody of children are subject to change or modification to reflect significant changes in income, and/or living arrangements of the children. However, many local rules prohibit modification before one year has passed.

Wage garnishment for child support payments:

Yes. Indiana, like most states, has a provision for withholding child support directly from the earnings of the parent who has been ordered to provide support. It is withheld much like income tax is withheld from earnings payments.

This way of paying and receiving child support is generally easier for both parties and considered a very dependable solution. The way it typically works is, once the support is withheld, it is then sent to the state agency authorized to receive and disburse payments. Once it has been verified that the support was paid, it is then sent to the parent designated to receive the support.

How Indiana determines child visitation:

Generally, parents are free to visit with their children at all times that are mutually agreed to by both parents. However, when parents cannot agree, the standard visitation schedule accepted most everywhere in the
nation is:

  • every other weekend and one evening during the week
  • four to six (4-6) weeks during the summer
  • alternating holidays

Be aware that visitation guidelines may vary from county to county.

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