Public Hearing on Review of Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines 2010
One of the more interesting comments was that the new Child Support Guidelines are encouraging litigation and harming children. The recently amended Guidelines have an enormous impact on the support amount paid by "high earners." Formally, due to a parabola formula, child support leveled off for high earners. However, now, the there is no level off and support is paid as a flat percentage of what is earned. This changes causes the amount of "parenting time credit" a parent receives, which reduces that parent's child support obligation, to have an meaningful financial impact. An attorney commenting at the hearing described that at extreme incomes this can result in each overnight being worth $5,000 in terms of annual child support. He opined that this creates an strong financial incentive for parents to fight over overnights with the child, so as to reduce or increase the parenting time credit. If true this is certainly an issue worth considering, because if the parents are encouraged to fight the child suffers.
There were many other issues brought up at the hearing, such as: the idea that the Guidelines are a minimum suggested amount of time; the first right of refusal/opportunity for additional parenting time; holiday parenting time conflicts; relocation related parenting time issues; how to enforce parenting time; virtual parenting time; and the application of the Guidelines to domestic or family violence situations.
We will follow this as it progresses.