Indiana Child Support Guidelines

Children have the right to be supported by both of their parents. Child support is the money that the non-custodial parent must pay the custodial parent to help raise the child until the child becomes an adult or is emancipated in another way. Indiana calculates child support using a codified Child Support Rules and Guidelines, which are part of the Indiana Rules of Court.

What Factors are Considered in Determining Child Support?

Judges in Indiana must consider many relevant factors including:

  • The financial resources of both parents
  • The child's standard of living if the divorce or separation hadn't occurred
  • The child's physical, mental, and educational needs

Child Support Payment Procedural Requirements

The court can order the person who receives child support to open a bank account, unless a written objection is filed and there’s a good reason to exempt the person. However, the clerk can't require the person who pays child support to do so through electronic funds transfer (EFT). Parents can check their child support payment history online.

How are Child Support Obligations Enforced?

When a parent fails to pay child support that has been ordered, the payments become delinquent. Interest is charged at not more than 1.5% per month. The local child support prosecutor can go after the delinquent parent to enforce the order a number of ways, including:

  • Taking the debtor's federal or state income tax refunds, employer bonuses, insurance settlements, lottery winnings, etc.
  • Reporting the debt to a credit agency, thus affecting the parent's credit and ability to find housing, buy a car, etc.
  • Suspending any driver's, professional, hunting, or fishing licenses the debtor may have
  • Putting a lien on the debtor's vehicle(s)
  • Withholding money from any bank accounts
  • Denying or revoking the debtor's passport

Details on Indiana's child support guideline laws are outlined in the table below.

Code Sections

Indiana Code, Title 31, Article 16: Support of Children and Other Dependents

Who is Responsible?

Both legal parents

How is Support Calculated?

Child support is determined by the child support guidelines that use gross weekly income and arrive at an adjusted weekly income using factors such as prior or subsequent children and alimony. Gross income includes many sources, such as pay from employment, overtime, commissions, bonuses, self-employed income (after deducting reasonable expenses to produce the income), rent, royalties, Social Security or veterans benefits, and retirement plan withdrawals (not dealt with in property division at dissolution). Additional income considerations are:

  • Imputed income, such as free housing, a company car, reimbursed meals, and other forms of income that reduce living expenses for one party, which can be substituted for or added to weekly gross income and
  • Potential income when a parent has no income, but is capable of earning income.

Once income for both parents is determined, the Child Support Obligation Worksheet determines the support amount.

Parents can use the Indiana online child support calculator to preview how much child support may be order. Although helpful, this isn’t a substitute for legal advice and can vary from what is actually ordered.

Indiana doesn't have a minimum support amount as it finds it inappropriate to attribute income to parents with mental illness, who are incarceration, are caring for a disabled child, etc, and can't work. The court can deviate from the guideline amount if it's unjust.

What Expenses Can the Judge Order?

Child support is ordered to cover basic expenses any child would need, including: food, clothing, shelter, transportation, and health insurance. When in the best interests of the child, the non-custodial parent can also be ordered to pay for the child's educational needs, medical, hospital, or dental expenses, and funeral expenses if the child dies.

How Long Must a Parent Pay Child Support?

Parents have a duty to support their children until the child:

  • Turns 19
  • Is no longer under the care of either parent or an agency approved by the court (such as foster care)
  • Goes into active duty with the military
  • Marries
  • Dies

However, the court can order child support beyond 19 years old for children with disabilities or children who had a child support order prior to July 1, 2012 and before 19 filed for educational needs for support up to 21 years old. Additionally, the court can order the termination of child support for a child at least 18 years old, who hasn't attended an educational institution in the past four months and can support himself or herself.

Note: When one child no longer requires support due to emancipation, the order for two or more children is NOT automatically reduced and the paying party must seek a modification to determine a new (typically lower) amount of support for any remaining children on the child support order.

If you have questions about your child support, review the Indiana Child Support Bureau website. If you still have questions or need help, consult with an experienced Indiana child support attorney.

Indiana Child Support: Related Resources

Learn More About Indiana Child Support Guidelines from an Attorney

While the information above can provide a helpful guide to understanding Indiana child support laws, it's always a good idea to talk to a professional who can give you personalized legal advice. So, if you're a parent who needs help enforcing child support orders or just has concerns regarding the child support guidelines, then you should consult with an experienced child support lawyer in Indiana today.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.