All Things Family Law

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

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE FORMER DOMAIN OF THIS SITE IS NO LONGER ASSOCIATED WITH RYAN CASSMAN OR THIS BLOG. HOWEVER, CONTENT, POSTINGS, DESIGN AND PHOTOS OF MINE ARE STILL BEING USED ON THAT DOMAIN WITHOUT MY CONSENT.

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.

Filtering by Category: Child support

NEW Indiana Child Support Guidelines 2015

The Indiana Supreme Court issued an order amending the Indiana Child Support Guidelines on November 5, 2015.  Below I have summarized many of the changes.  A copy of the Order can be found here

  • clarifying that the Guidelines apply to “educational support”;
  • the Guidelines apply not only to dissolution and paternity actions, but also juvenile proceedings, as well as third-party custodian and guardianship matters;
  • deleting language setting minimum support at $12.00 weekly;
  • that “if there were specific living expenses being paid by a parent which are now being regularly and continually paid by that parent’s current spouse or a third party, the assumed expenses may be considered imputed income to the parent receiving the benefit”;
  • an adjustment to support for subsequent legally adopted children;
  • as to health care coverage, if the coverage is provided without cost to the parent(s) then zero should be entered as the amount; and, if health insurance coverage is provided through an employer, only the child(ren)'s portion should be added, and only if the parent actually incurs a cost for it;
  • clarified how to credit social security benefits to a custodial parent;
  • updating the Guidelines to follow the “new” emancipation age law;
  • defines which education expenses are controlled expenses and which are extracurricular expenses;
  • incorporates the Affordable Care Act –“The rebuttable presumption that all children have insurance available at a reasonable cost recognizes the purpose of the Affordable Care Act. Courts should consider any exemption under the Affordable Care Act as sufficient to rebut the presumption that insurance is available at a reasonable cost” ;
  • a new provision regarding “Self-Monitoringand Compliance” with the requirement to provide coverage, based on the tax penalties in the Affordable Care Act;
  • a removal of the HIPW worksheet and provisions;
  • the following language related to the FAFSA form and whether the Court should enter a post-secondary expense order; and
  • a consideration of how the right to claim a child as a dependent on a parent’s taxes may affect health insurance subsidies or tax penalties under the Affordable Care Act; shall be prorated by the number of persons covered to determine a per person cost.

To discuss this further please contact me.  

Same-Sex "Parents" - Visitation and Parenting Time - Indiana Law

On October 31, 2013 the Court of Appeals decided an important case in Indiana holding that a person who is the non-biological, same-sex parent of a child has standing to seek a visitation order with the child.  In doing so the Court of Appeals challenges the legislature to review its definition of "parent" (see below) 

In reaching the holding the Court  of Appeals details the policy reasons and merits of allowing visitation to grandparents, opposite-sex stepparents, foster parents and third parties in general.  Summarizing its reasoning the Court stated:

"By recognizing a right to third-party visitation, this court has acknowledged that a child's interest in maintaining relationships with those who have acted in a parental capacity will sometimes trump a natural parent's right to direct the child's upbringing. Moreover, although the reasons our Supreme Court articulated in Worrell for denying standing to former foster parents are beyond dispute, the rationale for limiting third-party visitation to stepparents alone is less clear. It appears to us that the Court viewed a stepparent relationship as a strong indicator that a custodial and parental relationship exists. But surely custodial and parental relationships may exist with third parties other than stepparents. Indeed, the situation presented here is characterized by even stronger indicia of a custodial and parental relationship. This is so because the parties originally intended for the biological mother's partner to fulfill the role of the child's second parent and actively encouraged the development of a parental bond between the partner and the child."

Importantly, the Court explained that a same-sex partner is not automatically entitled to visitation:

"Thus, in the particular factual circumstances of this case, a partner who did not give birth to the child has standing to seek visitation with the child. This is not to say that a former domestic partner is automatically entitled to visitation in these circumstances—it must still be established that visitation is in the child's best interests. We therefore reverse the trial court's conclusion that Partner lacked standing to seek visitation with Child and remand with instructions to reconsider Partner's request for visitation under the standard set forth in our third-party visitation cases."

So, while a same-sex partner may have visitation, Indiana has not held that they are entitled to visitation per the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines. Yet. 

Finally, one of most interesting parts of the opinion is where the Court of Appeals urges the legislature to address this issue:

"Since King, the status of the law surrounding a lesbian partner's right, if any, to enjoy the rights of a legal parent of a child born to her partner under the circumstances presented here remains uncertain.[5] When this court decided In re A.B., we solicited guidance from the General Assembly on this issue. In the years that have passed since then, none has been forthcoming. The existing statutory framework does not contemplate the increased use of assisted reproductive technologies. Accordingly, it provides no guidance in situations where an intended parent lacks a genetic connection to the child. That deficiency is exacerbated by the growing recognition of less traditional family structures. Our system of government entrusts the General Assembly, not the courts, to fashion a framework for deciding matters as tethered to social mores and sensibilities as this subject is. We feel the vacuum of such guidance even more acutely now than we did eight years ago, when King was decided. Indeed, what began as a trickle is rapidly becoming a torrent, and the number of children whose lives are impacted by rules that have yet to be written only increases with the passage of time. They, and we, would welcome a legislative roadmap to help navigate the novel legal landscape in which we have arrived."

 

To discuss this please contact me. To see all of my postings on this topic search here

Termination of Child Support - Terminating Support at Age 19

The new child support law holding that support ends at age 19 trumps previous dissolution orders that extended support past age 19.  The Indiana Lawyer describes how the Court of Appeals reviewed and decided this  issue: 

In David A. Turner v. Debbie L. Turner, 85A02-1208-DR-704, David Turner argued that based on the July 2012 amendment to Indiana Code 31-16-6-6, the trial court should have granted his petition to terminate child support for his 19-year-old son Cody. The amendment says the duty to support a child, which does not include support for educational needs, ceases when the child becomes 19, with some exceptions not applicable to the Turners.
When David Turner and his wife Debbie divorced in 2000, the final dissolution decree said that David Turner would pay child support for Cody until he reached the age of 21, or is married, leaves home or is emancipated. After the amendment that decreased the age for termination of child support took effect, David Turner sought to stop paying support for Cody.
Debbie Turner believed the dissolution decree entered in 2000 should remain in place. The trial court noted that the language in the decree was “boilerplate” and reflected Indiana law at the time, but denied David Turner’s petition.
“Indeed, the language used by the trial court in the decree, which tracks most of the situations that would trigger the termination of child support, makes clear that the trial court took its lead from the legislature and followed the existing law at the time of the decree regarding the duration that Father would be required to pay child support for Son,” Judge Rudy Pyle III wrote. “However, the trial court ignored the changes in the law regarding the termination of child support. The trial court’s failure to follow the law as set forth by our legislature was an abuse of discretion.
“The trial court had no discretion to go outside the law set out in the termination of child support statute and to extend Father’s duty to pay child support beyond what is required by the law.”
The judges remanded to the trial court to enter an order granting David Turner’s petition and to terminate child support effective July 1, 2012.
The Turner's surely are not the only divorced parents who agreed that support would continue until the age of 21; however, unless there is clear language to the contrary a support order will likely cease at age 19. 
To discuss this issue please contact me.

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