“I lost my job and have no income; does child support automatically stop?”
No. Under Indiana law, child support continues at the amount it is ordered to be paid until another order of the trial court issues. For this reason, it is critical that a person who loses his or her job file a petition to modify child support at once.
A trial court can only modify child support back to the date a Petition to Modify Child Support is filed. Therefore, it important–critical-- this be done at once, even if there is a significant delay before a hearing can be held.
For instance, if a payor-parent becomes incarcerated, a Petition should be filed, even if it must be continued multiple times until release.
Stated differently, a trial court, on any evidentiary showing, cannot modify child support back before the Petition to Modify Child Support is on file. This may seem like an overly technical reading of the law, but that is how Indiana courts the child support modification statutes.
Assuming the Petition to Modify Child Support is filed, the trial court may modify a child support order in on of two (2) situations. The first is where the factual circumstances change and the trial court finds the current child support order is unreasonable.
The second evidentiary showing is where the application of the Child Support Rules and Guidelines would result in a twenty percent (20%) difference in the amount of support to be paid. In addition, 12 months has passed since the prior support order was entered.
As such, the failure to file a Petition to Modify Child Support may result in a crushing child support obligation, when it is not warranted. At Ciyou & Dixon, P.C., we understand the purposes of child support and it benefits and limitations. We are attuned to the children and the reality of the economic downturn.
We are here to help.