Indiana Child Support: The Effect of Childcare Costs and Health Insurance

indiana child support lawsThe Indiana Child Support Rules and Guidelines allow for the deduction or a credit for amounts paid for work-related childcare costs and the child’s portion of health insurance premiums from a parent’s child support obligation.

However, questions often arise as to how the child’s portion of health insurance premium is calculated and what constitutes work-related childcare costs.

Calculating Health Insurance in Child Support

The child’s portion of heath insurance premium is calculated by obtaining the premium spreadsheet, typically from the parent’s Human Resources department. The cost for “employee only” and the cost for “employee plus 1” or “employee plus child” are then located.

The cost for the “employee only” is subtracted from “employee plus 1” or “employee plus child” and the remaining amount is the cost for the child’s portion of the health insurance premium.

It is important to determine whether the figures used are for monthly premiums, per pay period, or weekly. If the amounts are not weekly amounts, then the figures must then be converted to weekly amounts for use in an Indiana child support calculator worksheet.

Determining What Amount is Reasonable

Once the child’s portion of the health insurance premium is determined, the amount must be determined to be reasonable based on the parent’s income.

For example, if the father has health insurance available to him for the benefit of the children at a cost of $55 per week but the father only earns $1,000 per week (gross income), then the court will determine that the amount is not reasonable. For a gross income of $1,000 per week, the reasonable cost threshold is $50 per week.

This is determined by using a Health Insurance Premium Worksheet that states the “reasonable” value. Any amount below the listed amount would be considered reasonable. Therefore, if the child’s portion of the health insurance premium in the example above was $45, then that amount would be reasonable.

If neither parent has health insurance available to them at a reasonable cost, then the court will not order either parent to provide the insurance. If health insurance is reasonably available to one or both parents, the court may order a parent to provide the health insurance.

The parent ordered or agreeing to provide the health insurance will then receive a credit against their child support obligation for the amount he or she pays.

Calculating Childcare Costs

Calculating work-related childcare costs would seem to be much easier. However, issues often arise when there are questions as to what portion of the childcare is actually necessary to allow the other parent to work.

For example, if a parent works part time but the child is in full time childcare, then not all of the expense is work-related childcare and the other parent may introduce evidence of such at a hearing to determine child support.

There are also questions that may arise if the parent is unemployed but actively looking for employment. The court may determine that at least some amount of work-related childcare is appropriate in order to allow the parent time to prepare and deliver resumes, to attend interviews, and to pursue other employment seeking opportunities.

Another common situation that arises is when one parent is in school or taking education classes. Courts have commonly held that childcare costs should be included in child support calculations to allow the parent to further his or her education and allow him or her to potentially obtain better employment in the future to provide for the child.

If a parent elects to enroll a child in full-time childcare when part-time childcare would cover the parent’s needs to allow him or her to work, attend school, or locate employment, then the court may determine that the cost of part-time childcare may be included in the child support calculation and order the parent electing to place the child in the full-time program to be fully responsible for the difference.

The parent who pays the portion of the obligation ordered by the court and included in the child support obligation worksheet will receive a credit for the amount they pay for the work-related childcare in their child support obligation.

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Indiana Child Support Attorneys

If you have questions about your current child support obligation, wish to modify your child support obligation, or are involved in a case revolving around child support issues and child support calculation, you should contact the Indiana child support attorneys at Cordell & Cordell.

Cordell & Cordell has several offices in Indiana serving clients in all Indiana counties.