All Things Family Law

Discussion of all things related to family law from an Indiana divorce attorney.

This blog provides general family law and divorce law information. If you have a specific issue or case you need assistance with please contact me directly. 

Indiana Child Support Guidelines - High Earners Pay More, Low Earners Pay Less

Under the amended Indiana Child Support Guidelines, effective January 1, 2010, high earners may pay more, and low earners may pay less.

High Earners: Those that earn over $4000 a week will be affected. Under the previous guidelines those earning $4000 did not have a scheduled guideline amount, but instead a formula was applied. Now where income is at $4000-$10,000 weekly there is a scheduled guideline payment. The initial commentary of the amended Guidelines states as follows:

[the scheduled payments] at high incomes leveled off the child support schedule for combined weekly adjusted incomes above $4,000. In 2009 this exception was removed. The increase is now incorporated into the schedule up to combined weekly adjusted incomes of $10,000 and a formula is provided for incomes above that amount. Previously, a formula was provided for combined weekly adjusted incomes above $4,000.

One aspect of the guidelines that did not change is the ability to tax adjust the support payment from the guideline assumed income tax rate of 21.88%. The guidelines state as follows:

In devising the Indiana Guidelines, an average tax factor of 21.88 percent was used to adjust the support column. Of course, taxes vary for different individuals. This is the case whether a gross or net income approach is used. Under the Indiana Guideline, where taxes vary significantly from the assumed rate of 21.88 percent, a trial court may choose to deviate from the guideline amount where the variance is substantiated by evidence at the support hearing.

For high earners a tax adjustment should still be considered.

Low Earners: The changes to the guidelines are helpful to low earners. Instead of having a minimum support amount of $25.00 per week the lowest amount is set at $12.00 per week. Also, the Supreme Court states that there are some situations where a $0.00 support order is appropriate. While this may seem unfair the Supreme Court found, based on research, that the accumulation of excessive arrearages was not in the best interest of the children involved. Also, where a parent is incarcerated and can't earn income, an adjustment to the support amount may be needed, see case here.

Additionally, considering that 'negative support orders' are now presumed to be appropriate, it is not much of a stretch to have a $0.00 support order.

For more information on child support and the new guidelines see previous blog entries on 'child support'.

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