In a domestic law matter, often, child support is one of the main issues that parties disagree about. Who will pay? How much credit will be given? In Indiana, child support is based on a formula, and once the required numbers and information are placed into the worksheet, the total for child support is calculated and determined1.
The Child Support Rules and Guidelines provide for a division of many of the expenses. For example, the health insurance premium for the minor children only is a factor in determining child support. Whichever party is paying the health insurance premium (or if the parties are dividing same) gets the credit for that payment through the child support calculation.
However, not every single expense related to raising a child over the course of 19 years (beyond with college) can be explored in a set of guidelines. There are expenses that come up that are not accounted for. Helpfully, many expenses can fall under a more general category within the Child Support Rules and Guidelines.
For example, school books and supplies are considered a controlled expense, which is a non-shared cost, incurred by the custodial parent. Until fairly recently, school books and supplies included the cost of renting and buying books, school supplies such as pencils, paper, calculators, etc. But, with the progress of technology and integration into schools, schools are beginning to consider having students purchase tablets or laptops for the student. The cost of a tablet or laptop may be considered an expense that is a school supply or may be considered an expense the parties should share.
However, with a laptop or tablet comes the need for internet access, and if one party does not have internet access, this may impair the child’s ability to use the device for homework. It is less likely that establishing internet connection in a party’s house will be considered a school expense or expense to be shared by the parties. The rationale is that the internet would be for more than just the benefit of the child’s schoolwork, but could also be used for a myriad of other matters by other family members.
The Child Support Rules and Guidelines are a wonderful tool for helping to determine costs and expenses for children and essentially who pays what. However, there are some matters that fall into a grey area, and may need more research and information before it can be determined who will pay.
We hope that this blog post has been helpful in exploring child support expenses generally. This blog is not intended as legal advice. If you have questions or concerns about your case, CIYOU & DIXON, P.C. may be able to help evaluate same. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. practices throughout the state of Indiana. This post was written by attorney, Jessica Keyes.
- See generally, Child Support Rules and Guidelines