Child Support

Is Workers’ Comp Considered When Determining Child Support?

Nothing could be more important than your kids and your relationships with them. In Indiana, if you are divorcing or if you are involved in a post-divorce dispute over child support, you must be represented by an attorney you can trust – an experienced Lake County child support attorney.

In this state, every child has a right to financial support from both parents. It doesn’t matter if the child’s parents weren’t married or if the child is adopted. In a divorce settlement, or if the parents never married, either parent can be ordered by an Indiana court to make child support payments.

If divorcing spouses cannot mutually agree on a child support arrangement prior to or during a divorce, or if never-married parents cannot agree on child support, an Indiana court will use the state’s established rules and guidelines to calculate an appropriate child support payment figure.


When parents can’t agree, child support is calculated using Indiana’s Child Support Rules and Guidelines, which sets payment amounts based on the parents’ incomes and earning capacities, the number of children, their needs, and the amount of time each parent spends with the children.

Indiana judges may adjust a payment amount in a specific case if the amount determined by the Guidelines is unfair, unjust, or insufficient. The best interests of the child are the top priority of Indiana’s family courts, and every family court ruling is made on the basis of that priority.

Child support should never be thought of by anyone as a punishment or as a penalty. When an Indiana family court judge issues an order for a parent to make child support payments, the court order is simply recognizing what is in fact already that parent’s responsibility.


Indiana’s Child Support Rules and Guidelines define a parent’s weekly gross income as income from salaries, wages, commissions, bonuses, dividends, pensions, annuities, capital gains, trusts, Social Security and disability benefits, workers’ comp benefits, gifts, inheritances, and prizes.

According to the Rules and Guidelines, “When a parent is unemployed by reason of involuntary layoff or job termination, it still may be appropriate to include an amount in gross income representing that parent’s potential income.”

Additionally, “If the involuntary layoff can be reasonably expected to be brief, potential income should be used at or near that parent’s historical earning level … Potential income equivalent to the federal minimum wage may be attributed to that parent.”


So to answer our original question, the answer is yes. Workers’ compensation benefits are considered income when a child support payment amount is calculated by an Indiana court.

Of course, sustaining an injury does not mean that you are temporarily no longer a parent; your child (or children) still must be supported. But workers’ compensation benefits in Indiana replace only two-thirds of an injured worker’s average weekly wages.

Will your child support obligation be reduced as well? Not automatically. In spite of your lower weekly income, your child support obligation is unchanged unless you request a modification of the court’s child support order and persuade the court that your payments should be reduced.


Indiana’s lawmakers and family court judges recognize that as a parent’s situation changes, child support orders may also have to be changed. A parent may request a modification of the court’s child support order if and when such a modification is justified by the circumstances.

For example, if you have sustained a mild or moderate injury on the job, and you are going back to work in only two or three weeks, a child support modification request probably will be futile.

But if you have been seriously injured at work, and if it will be months before you are able to return to your job, an Indiana family court will probably agree to consider your request for a modification of your child support order.


To have a parent’s child support order modified, that parent must demonstrate to the court that a substantial change in life circumstances has happened, and the parent must also demonstrate that the requested modification is in the child’s best interests.

If you need a child support order modified while you are receiving workers’ compensation benefits in Indiana – or for any other reason – get the sound legal advice and representation that you will need by arranging to speak with a qualified Lake County family law attorney.

It is not unusual for the victim of a workplace injury to become delinquent with child support obligations. Interest on delinquent child support payments in Indiana may be charged at 1.5 percent per month.

And if you were already behind on child support payments when you were injured, the amount that you owe probably can’t be reduced – even if a family court agrees to modify the original court order.


In other words, modifications of child support orders generally are not retroactive in this state, but if your child’s other parent agrees to a retroactive modification, and if that agreement does not impair the best interests of the child, a judge may agree to approve your modification request.

Divorced or unmarried parents should also understand that they may not simply arrange on their own a new child support agreement without informing the court. Until and unless a family court judge signs a modified court order, the current child support order will remain in effect.


Although it may not apply to you if you are receiving worker’s compensation benefits, the concept of “potential income” needs some explanation.

A parent in this state cannot decrease or eliminate his or her child support obligation by earning less income or by deciding not to work at all. Indiana family courts can designate a “potential income” if a parent decides not to work or decides not to work to his or her capacity.


For parents – and sometimes for children too – child support disputes can be difficult and emotionally challenging. If you need to have a child support order modified or enforced, let a reliable and experienced Indiana family lawyer handle the matter on your behalf.

Nothing is more important than your kids, so you must get the legal help you need. That is every parent’s right.

How To Handle Child Support Payments When There Is Joint Custody

A divorce ends a marriage, but usually, if the marriage produced children, divorce does not end the relationship between the parents. In most cases, after a divorce in Indiana, a non-custodial parent pays child support regularly to the custodial parent until the child reaches the age of 19.

But how is child support handled when the arrangement is joint custody – that is, when both parents are in effect “custodial” parents? Especially if you’re a parent and you’re going through a divorce – or expecting to – can a Merrillville child support attorney help?

When parents are awarded joint custody of their child or children after an Indiana divorce, the child or children have continuing, regular contact with both parents. Joint physical custody in Indiana means nearly equal parenting time – approximately 182 days and nights a year.


When joint custody is awarded, Indiana courts handle child custody differently than they handle a sole custody arrangement. The court calculates the gap between the incomes of the two parents, and the higher earner typically makes some kind of child support payment to the lower earner.

When there is no significant difference in the net incomes of the two parents, in most cases, no child support order or payments are necessary or required.


When determining whether or not child support payments should be ordered in a joint custody arrangement, an Indiana court takes these factors into account:

1. Gross earnings: Pay stubs and tax records are used to establish each parent’s gross earnings. Indiana requires the consideration of both parents’ incomes to determine child support payment amounts.

2. Deductions: Several deductions allow for an adjustment of a parent’s income, such as health insurance for the child or children and any child support payments the parent makes for other children.

3. Overnight visitations: Indiana doesn’t count daytime visitations when calculating child support amounts – only an overnight visitation is counted as a parenting time credit.

An Indiana court may modify the calculated child support figure if the court believes a different amount is more appropriate. In any legal case that involves children in this state, the court will make its determination based on what it perceives to be the best interests of the child.

State courts in Indiana do not usually require child support from parents who are diagnosed with a mental incapacity, parents who have been sentenced to prison or to jail, and parents who are supporting another child if that other child has a disability.


Indiana’s child support requirements are intended to guarantee that our state’s children have adequate food, clothing, shelter, and healthcare. If a parent fails to pay court-ordered child support, interest on delinquent payments may be charged at 1.5% per month.

The state of Indiana enforces child support orders in several ways, including but not limited to:

1. seizing state or federal tax refunds, insurance settlements, or lottery winnings
2. placing a lien on a parent’s personal vehicle
3. revoking or denying the parent’s passport
4. suspending state-issued professional licenses and driver’s, hunting, and fishing licenses

All Indiana parents are obligated by law to support their children until the child turns 19, marries, or goes into active military duty. An Indiana court may order child support payments to continue past a child’s 19th birthday – until further order of the court – when the child is disabled.


A court in this state may also terminate a child support order if a child is at least 18 years old, the child has not attended an educational institution in the previous four months, and the child is capable of supporting himself or herself financially.

Court-ordered child support for multiple children does not automatically change in Indiana when one child turns 19 and no longer needs the child support. A paying parent must request a formal modification of the court order to determine a fair payment figure for the remaining children.

If you’ve been ordered to pay child support in this state – whether you’re a non-custodial parent or it’s a joint custody arrangement – and you lose your job, suffer a disabling injury, or for any reason become unable to make payments, speak at once to a Merrillville family law attorney.


To receive child support payments in Indiana, you must obtain a court order, and you’ll need a good lawyer’s help. Indiana child support orders cannot be changed without at least one parent submitting a formal modification request to the court.

If you’re a parent, and you’re divorcing or anticipating divorce in Indiana, a child support order will probably be a part of your final divorce decree. You must have an experienced divorce lawyer advise you and protect your rights from the beginning of the divorce process.

Your Indiana divorce lawyer can handle every aspect of your divorce: the child custody and child support issues; the division and distribution of properties, assets, and debts; and spousal maintenance when appropriate. Find an attorney who gives you confidence – someone you trust.

Divorce in Indiana – and the related matters such as child custody and the division of assets – can be quite complicated, so if you are divorcing in or near Merrillville, it’s imperative to have the advice and services of a qualified Merrillville family law attorney.


If you plan to divorce, your options are an uncontested divorce, meaning that you and your spouse will make the decisions, or a contested divorce, meaning that you and your spouse will go to court and a judge will settle the matters that are in dispute.

Divorcing couples usually disagree on plenty – it’s why they’re getting divorced. In Indiana, if both spouses can agree to the terms of a divorce, and they simply wish for the court to approve those terms, it’s an “uncontested” divorce. That can save a couple substantial time and money.

If you are divorcing in the state of Indiana, or if you are involved in any dispute regarding child custody, child support or any other matter of family law, get in touch with an experienced family lawyer at once. Having a good lawyer’s help is your right.

How To Calculate Child Support In The State Of Indiana

Exactly what does the law say in Indiana regarding child support? It’s a legal question that is far easier to ask than to answer.

The following is a basic introduction to the laws and rules regarding child support in Indiana, but if you are involved in a child support dispute – or expect to be – you will need to obtain sound legal advice from an Indiana family law attorney regarding your individual situation.

In any Indiana legal case involving a child, this state places that child’s best interests above all other considerations. Indiana’s children have the legal right to the financial support of both parents.

Child support is what a non-custodial parent pays to a custodial parent to help support their child or children.

The state’s child support guidelines are designed to facilitate a child’s best interests, reduce the need for litigation, and reduce conflict between custodial and non-custodial parents.

Child support amounts are determined using written legal rules, guidelines, and formulas that are part of the Indiana Rules of Court.

In arriving at an appropriate amount for child support in any particular case, Indiana family law judges consider factors that include but are not limited to:

  • the assets, debts, and income of both parents
  • the child’s standard of living prior to the divorce or separation
  • the child’s mental, physical, healthcare, and educational requirements


The state’s child support guidelines consider a parent’s gross weekly income and then arrive at an adjusted weekly income.

Gross income is income from all sources including salary or wages, rental incomes, royalties, dividend payments, and Social Security or veterans’ benefits.

Additional income considerations include “imputed” income such as the use of a company car, free housing or meals, and other in-kind income that reduces the parent’s expenses.

Judges may also consider “potential” income when the parent has no money coming in but is capable of earning it.

When an adjusted weekly income is arrived at for both parents, a “Child Support Obligation Worksheet” is used to arrive at a precise figure for the child support payments.

A very few non-custodial parents pay no child support, because Indiana lawmakers and judges do not attribute any income to a parent with mental illness, a parent who is incarcerated, or a parent who cares for another child who is disabled.

The court has the discretion to differ with the calculated child support amount if the court believes that the amount is unjust in any particular case.

Parents can use the online child support “calculators” to get a general idea of the amount that may be ordered, but the figures provided by online calculators may vary greatly from what the court actually determines.

At any rate, an online calculator is no substitute for the legal advice that an experienced Lake County child support attorney can offer.


When a non-custodial parent in Indiana does not make court-ordered child support payments in a timely manner, delinquent payments must include a 1.5 percent interest fee.

Prosecutors in this state have a number of ways to pursue delinquent parents and collect overdue child support payments, including:

  • seizing the parent’s state or federal income tax returns, insurance settlements, lottery winnings, and
  • similar types of income
  • placing a lien on the parent’s personal vehicle
  • reporting a parent’s failure to pay child support to credit agencies
  • suspending any driver’s, professional, fishing, or hunting licenses the parent may have
  • having the parent’s passport revoked


The state of Indiana’s child support laws are crafted to ensure that children have their basic expenses paid for including food, shelter, clothes, and health insurance.

When an Indiana family court determines that it is in a child’s best interests, a non-custodial parent may also be required to pay for educational needs, medical or dental expenses not covered by insurance, or funeral expenses should the child die.

Non-custodial parents in Indiana typically pay child support until a child marries, dies, begins active military duty, turns 19 years old, or is no longer under the care of a parent, guardian, foster parent, or state agency.

Indiana courts can also require child support past the date of the child’s 19th birthday for a child with disabilities until further order of the court.

At this time, Indiana family law courts can also order child support to continue until a child’s 21st birthday if a child support order was issued before July 1, 2012 and if a request for educational child support is filed before the child’s 19th birthday.

However, a court in this state can also order the termination of child support payments at any time after the child’s 18th birthday if the child has not attended an educational institution for four successive months and the child is capable of being self-supporting.


Child support matters in Indiana are seldom permanently resolved simply because a divorce has been finalized or a child support amount has been determined.

When circumstances change and a child support order needs to be modified, a Lake County family law attorney can help you request and argue for that modification.

Situations that might require a child support order to be modified include but are not limited to a change of jobs or the loss of a job; illness, injury, or disability; a new child with a new partner; or a move to another jurisdiction, state, or nation.

It is critically imperative for both parents to understand that a child support order for two or more children does not automatically modify itself in the state of Indiana when one child no longer requires support because he or she has become emancipated.

The paying, non-custodial parent must take the active step of requesting a formal modification to decide a new payment amount for any remaining children.

Additionally, if you are obligated to make child support payments and you lose your job or otherwise become unable to make those payments, seek the counsel of an Indiana family law attorney at once.

Child support orders cannot be modified without a request by one parent or the other.

A parent who does not request a modification may become legally responsible for child support which that parent may no longer able to pay.

The Ten Most Common Birth Injuries

A child’s birth should be the most joyous event of a parent’s life, and usually, it is. But a birth can swiftly turn catastrophic if complications turn into injuries or death, and when that happens in this state, parents should consult an experienced Indiana personal injury attorney. Birth injuries are often permanent and sometimes permanently disabling injuries. When a birth injury is caused by medical negligence, families are entitled by law in all fifty states to compensation for the ongoing treatment and care of their injured child.

Birth injuries happen for a variety of reasons, but the predominant cause of birth injuries is a lack of oxygen. When medical personnel do not diagnose oxygen deprivation and do not respond immediately, it’s medical malpractice, and frequently it’s also the reason behind a serious birth injury or a fatality. Cerebral palsy or brachial plexus palsy are among the more frequent consequences of oxygen deprivation during birth. Other birth injuries can be caused by a number of hospital errors, including just plain insufficient basic care.


A 2006 survey by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported just over two million births that year in the 19 states that responded. The 2,073,368 births to the residents of those 19 states represented 49 percent of all 2006 births in the United States. The survey determined that these are the ten most common birth injuries:


Brachial plexus injuries involve damage to the nerves that link the upper spine to the neck, shoulder, arm, and hand. The mildest form of brachial plexus injury is neuropraxia, the stretching of the nerve. Neuroma is more serious, where the nerve is torn and does not heal. The most severe brachial plexus injury is avulsion, where the nerve roots are entirely separated from the spine, creating total paralysis.


Cephalohematoma is a traumatic hematoma that occurs between the skin and the infant’s skull bone. Cephalohematoma does not pose any risk to the brain cells, but it causes unnecessary pooling of the blood from damaged blood vessels between the skull and inner layers of the skin. Infant cephalohematoma is a medical condition that occurs in one to two percent of all live births. Cephalohematoma generally occurs during labor and delivery. In some instances, there is evidence of birth trauma, but in other cases, there is no indication of any sort of trauma. However, the use of forceps has been linked with a heightened cephalohematoma risk.


A fractured clavicle (collar bone) can happen in a complicated or difficult birth, and other bones can be fractured or sometimes broken as well. Immobilization is sometimes a recommended treatment, although most broken bones eventually heal on their own.


Caput succedaneum presents as a swelling of the scalp in a newborn, and a portion of the scalp could appear bruised or discolored. It is most often brought on by pressure from the uterus or vaginal wall during a head-first (vertex) delivery. A caput succedaneum is more likely to form during a difficult delivery, after the membranes have broken. This is because the fluid in the amniotic sac is no longer providing a cushion for the baby’s head. Vacuum extraction during a difficult birth can also increase the chances of a caput succedaneum. Caput succedaneum is not a life-threatening injury and usually heals on its own.


Perinatal asphyxia, neonatal asphyxia, or birth asphyxia is the medical condition resulting from deprivation of oxygen to a newborn infant that lasts long enough during the birth process to cause physical harm, usually to the brain. The amount of harm to the newborn depends on how long and how severe the period of asphyxia is and how quickly the right treatment is provided. Birth asphyxia occurs in about one of every 250 full-term births.


Newborns with mild or moderate asphyxia usually fully recover. Babies whose cells were deprived of oxygen for a longer period may have permanent injury to the brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, bowels, or other organs. When a premature baby has asphyxia, the damage may lead to cerebral palsy, developmental disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or impaired sight. In the most serious cases, asphyxia can be fatal.


Hemorrhage in or around the brain can occur in any newborn but is particularly common among those born prematurely. Subarachnoid hemorrhage is bleeding in the skull under the two innermost layers of the brain covering. Intracranial hemorrhage is suspected in newborns with apnea, seizures, lethargy, or an abnormal neurologic examination. Treatment – usually vitamin K – depends on the location and severity of the hemorrhage.


During delivery, if too much pressure is put on an infant’s face, nerve damage can result. It’s common when doctors use forceps or a vacuum extraction. Symptoms may include the inability to close the eye on the affected side of the face. Usually, facial paralysis heals over time. More serious cases may lead to a lack of control over facial muscles or total paralysis on one side of the face.


Subconjunctival hemorrhage is bleeding that occurs when small blood vessels burst in the baby’s eyes. It may be present in one or both of the infant’s eyes and appears as a bright red band surrounding the iris. Subconjunctival hemorrhages are usually caused by variations in pressure during birth and do not cause permanent damage to the eyes. The red area fades within a matter of days.


Spinal cord injuries are often more severe than most birth injuries. A birth-related spinal cord injury is rare, however, and involves variable degrees of cord disruption, often with hemorrhage. Trauma usually occurs in breech deliveries. It can also be caused by spinal cord compression due to epidural hemorrhage or hyperextension of the fetal neck in utero. These injuries usually impact the lower cervical region (C5 to C7).



Approximately two or three in every one thousand children have cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to (or the abnormal development of) the parts of the brain that control movement, balance, and posture. Cerebral palsy is characterized by muscle spasms, muscle weakness, and lack of development with motor skills. Despite some breakthroughs, there is no cure for cerebral palsy.

Of every one thousand infants born in the United States, about seven are born sustaining a birth injury. When that happens, medical negligence is too frequently the reason, and in this state, parents may learn more about their rights and legal recourse by consulting with an experienced Indiana medical malpractice attorney. Victimized families have substantial legal rights when medical malpractice can be proven.

Frankly, and thankfully, serious birth injuries are rare. Science has made tremendous advances, and most hospitals in the United States have substantially enhanced their safety protocols and regulations in recent years to reduce malpractice-related birth injuries. Generally speaking, mothers and their newborns in the United States still receive some of the best medical care in the world.

How To Adopt A Child In The State Of Indiana

What is adoption? In the United States, legal adoption is the process where a person legally and fully assumes parenting responsibilities for a minor child from the child’s biological or legal parent or parents. Adoption is permanent, and a good adoption attorney can explain to you how to adopt and how to overcome the barriers to adoption that prospective adoptive parents sometimes encounter. Adoption can be simple in Indiana, but at the same time, be a very tedious process.

Whether you wish to adopt a child who is related to you, a stepchild, or a foster child, it’s important to work with an experienced family law attorney to make sure that your adoption is fully compliant with the law and that no legal problems with the adoption will pop up in the future. There are several different ways to bring a child into your family or to adopt a child you are already raising. Here is a look at several of the ways that adoption happens:

  • Adopting a relative: In a relative or kinship adoption, a member of a child’s family seeks to adopt the child. Grandparents often adopt grandchildren if the parents pass away or cannot care for the children for other reasons such as incapacitation, incarceration, or addiction. In most states, relative adoptions are the easiest type of adoption procedure.
  • Adopting a stepchild: A stepchild adoption is relatively quick and simple if the child’s other birth parent consents to the adoption. If the other birth parent cannot be located or will not consent, the procedure can become quite complicated.
  • Adopting through an agency: Public agencies and licensed, regulated private agencies including charities and faith groups routinely place children with adoptive parents. Public agencies often handle children who are wards of the state because they are orphans, abused, or abandoned. Expectant mothers and sometimes other parents seeking to give up their children for adoption often work through private agencies.
  • Adopting independently: Independent adoptions are often a direct agreement between the birth parents and adoptive parents. A clergy member, social worker, doctor, or lawyer may act as a go-between, but you’ll need a family law attorney to review and help you finalize an independent adoption. Family law is different in every state, and independent adoption is not allowed in some states. In an open adoption arrangement, the adoptive parents maintain some level of contact with the birth parents after the adoption.



Those who are seeking to adopt a child do not have to be affluent or own their own homes. However, prospective adoptive parents must show that they can provide a stable home for a child and a safe environment that supports and facilitates the child’s physical and mental health as well as social and educational needs. No adoption can be final until a child’s birth parents have been identified, located, notified of their rights, and offered a chance to have a say in the process.


When you make the choice to adopt, at the very beginning of the process, consult an experienced family lawyer, and in Indiana, meet with an experienced Lake County family law attorney. Family lawyers routinely handle adoptions so they know what is required, what to expect, and how to avoid the mistakes and misunderstandings that can unnecessarily prolong the adoption process.

In Indiana, relative adoptions and stepchild adoptions can be handled directly by a family law attorney, but all other adoptions must involve a licensed private agency or the Indiana Department of Child Services. Both the state and the private agencies require parenting classes to help potential parents with concerns that may emerge during or after the adoption process. These classes help families make the adjustment to suddenly having someone new in the household.


The agency adoption process in Indiana also includes a “home study” where a social worker or another agency representative meets with the adoptive family to learn more about their home. Prospective parents will need to confirm their income, obtain a health statement from their doctor, be fingerprinted, and provide references. Prospective parents must also produce marriage licenses, divorce decrees, birth and sometimes death certificates and criminal record clearances.

You’ll need to be patient because the adoption process in Indiana can take some time. In 2014, children who were wards of the state spent an average of twelve months in foster care while awaiting adoption. Therefore, families who are considering agency adoption in Indiana should plan on nine to eighteen months to complete the home study, parenting classes – usually 24 to 30 hours over several weeks – and orientation requirements.


It’s important to remember that there are children all over the world who need families and homes. Your child may be found in a different state or even in a different country. In an international adoption, the parents adopt a child who is a citizen of a foreign country. The adoption requirements of both the foreign nation and the parents’ U.S. home state must be satisfied, and the parents must acquire an immigrant visa for the child through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). When the visa is issued, the child is automatically a U.S. citizen upon entry into the U.S.


Those desiring to adopt a child from a foreign nation will need the advice and insights of an adoption lawyer experienced in international adoptions. The process can often be frustrating, as the immigration rules are complicated, and occasionally a lawyer, judge, or birth parent in the foreign country can disrupt the entire procedure. Consult an experienced adoption attorney before you make any final commitment or decision about an international adoption.


Are you ready to be a parent and adopt a child? Thousands of children in the United States foster care system need good, caring homes, along with many more children around the world. Right here in Indiana, scores of children are hoping to be adopted, and you might be their answer. If you are considering any kind of adoption in Indiana, or if you simply wish to learn more about adoption and adoption law, consult with an experienced Indiana family law attorney for the legal insights and the adoption services you’ll need.