One of the most important issues for residents of Northern Indiana who are contemplating a divorce is child support – how much can a non-custodial spouse be expected to pay or how much should a custodial parent expect to receive. The answers can be found in the general statutory language governing child support and in the specific child support guidelines that set the amount of child support based upon the parents’ financial situation.
In determining child support, the court must be guided by its findings about what outcome will serve the best interests of the child. The court must first consider the financial resources of both parents – how much can each parent be expected to pay for the child’s support and welfare. The second consideration is the child’s standard of living if the divorce had not occurred. Finally, the court must look at the real world considerations of the child’s physical, mental and educational growth. Child support must, to the extent financially possible, be sufficient to pay the child’s basic living expenses and, if possible, health care.
The actual calculation of child support begins with the gross weekly income of both parents. This amount can include salaries, wages, child support from a former spouse, imputed income, such as a free house, company car or certain expense reimbursements. Each party is required to complete the Child Support Obligation Worksheet. The worksheet will provide the court with an estimate of how much each parent is able to contribute to the child’s welfare.
The exact amount of child support can be difficult to compute without information from both spouses, and such information may not be available before the divorce proceeding commences. Indiana provides several online calculators for determining child support, but these calculations may be ignored by the court. Getting more information about legal options may lead to a helpful estimate.