A parent can seek child support in several different circumstances, including when there has been a divorce, legal separation, or if paternity of a child has been established. Beginning the process of child support is just like any other lawsuit and includes the same procedures. Providing as much information as possible is essential to making sure your child gets the proper amount of child support.
There are several factors that courts consider when deciding how much child support a person should pay: the financial resources of the custodial parent; the standard of living the child would have had if the parties had not divorced, separated, or if the parents were married, stayed married to each other; the physical or mental condition of the child and the child’s educational needs; and the financial resources and needs of the noncustodial parent. None of these individual factors decide the amount of child support. Usually, courts require a financial disclosure to help them decide how much child support is correct.
A parent can also be ordered to pay for education and health care costs as part of a child support order.
Generally speaking, a child support order stops once the child is emancipated, which most often happens when the child turns 19. However, the law makes certain exceptions, including if the child continues on to post-high school education. Parents may be required to contribute to those costs.
The broad principles of the child support system are to set as state policy a proper standard of support for children, with consideration of the ability of the parents to contribute financially to that support; to make sure that parents that are in similar situations are treated the same (we don’t want somebody who makes the same as somebody else to have to pay way more child support, absent important reasons); and to help parties reach agreements between themselves and out of court, to the extent possible.
As an Indianapolis family law attorney who has experience practicing in the area of child support, I can either help you establish and collect child support, or defend you against allegations that you might owe child support. I have helped many clients with their child support issues since 1981. Contact me to learn more.