Child support lawyers in Indiana handle cases for both custodial and non-custodial parents, those who must pay support, along with those who receive support. Attorneys are not on one side or the other as it relates to determining child support. Understanding both sides usually makes for more effective attorneys and better presentation of evidence. With child support, the matters are very technical and fact sensitive even in an original determination of child support.
This is why child support lawyers in Indianapolis and throughout the state spend so much time and effort determining child support in each case, and why so many domestic appeals raise child support legal issues. The initial determination of child support is theoretically easier than some modifications because, in an initial determination, there is no argument about when to modify and there is no past due child support (arrearage). Nonetheless, the initial determination is still based on many complex legal and factual concepts. Failure to consider the legal and factual concepts with your counsel may leave the custodial parent receiving too little child support or the non-custodial parent paying too much child support.
While this may not seem significant, an imbalance of any substantial financial determination of weekly child support to be paid may prohibit the non-custodial parent from having time and being able to afford activities with his or her child, the custodial parent may then obtain a windfall that may not ultimately reach to the child’s best interests relative to how the payor parent would use the extra funds in parenting time. Again, child support attorneys in Indiana and elsewhere are focused on having child support properly set in the initial determination so the family unit is not dramatically impacted by divorce or legal separation.
The ultimate reality of the situation is that divorced parents have numerous duplicate costs and likely the same income available to do more with a lot less. Child support lawyers in Indianapolis and across the state are aware of the time and cost of the initial child support determination, its impact on the children and parents, along with future implications, which makes it important to get it as accurate as possible in the first instance. For instance, an arrearage that occurs because a paying parent is behind in child support since it is set too high may result more legal costs due to a contempt petition by the custodial/child support receiving parent for failure to pay child support per the court’s order. However, to be found in “contempt of court” means that you have in some way disturbed the legal process such that it impedes the functionality of the court. A party only may be held in contempt if he willfully disobeys a court order. The order, however, must be so clear and certain that there could be no question as to what the party must do, or not do (Witaker v. Cloverdale, 2009).
Therefore, every divorced parent knows how much harder it is to make ends-meet, so “working” (see Commentary) the child support rules and guidelines with your counsel to determine the proper amount of child support is critical. The threshold point for you to begin as you engage an Indiana child support lawyer in the context of a paternity, divorce or legal separation is to determine the posture of your case. Is this an initial paternity support case, legal separation, or divorce filing? As a general rule of thumb, the attorney handling this case will address the child support. However, for litigants, attorneys, and courts, as discussed, child support is a bundle of complex legal concepts and mathematical formulas to properly provide support for your family now and in the future, which necessitates time and understanding for all.
This background noted, there are two key ways you can help your case and the child support lawyer. First, you should review the child support rules, guidelines, and commentary, if you are willing and able; because there are concepts for increase or decrease in child support that are common to rare and may not be accounted for completely if you are not engaged in the process. The more you understand, the better able you will maximize the time you spend with your counsel. For example, if you have unusually high prescription costs, it could be important to notify your Indiana child support lawyer.
Second, gather the documents available to you to help your Indiana child support lawyer properly calculate and recalculate child support scenarios. This includes your last three (3) years tax returns, current pay stubs, and information you have about your spouse’s income. Where one or both spouse are self-employed, it is important to understand that this creates unique issues for attorneys and judges and it is often helpful to prepare a short summary about how the business operates, costs, and industry-average margin for your attorney. With this, you will be in the best place to help your child support attorneys in Indiana do the most effective job for you and meet your children’s best interests as it relates to child support.
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