In any divorce case involving children, the issue of child support must be addressed. As a preliminary matter, it is generally not permissible to waive child support. Occasionally in these family law cases, a client will state, “We’ve agreed that child support is not necessary.” A court is very unlikely to approve a settlement agreement or enter a Decree of Dissolution that does not account for the payment of child support. Child support is viewed as belonging to the child, not the parents, and thus it is not up to the parents whether child support is paid.
Child support is calculated utilizing a few factors which are as follows:
- Weekly gross income for each parent;
- Child care expenses;
- Health insurance costs and who pays those costs; and
- The number of overnights the child(ren) spend with the non-custodial parent per year.
Those values are entered into a calculator worksheet, and the number that a worksheet yields is the child support number. If you want to see how the worksheet is utilized to calculate child support, the Indiana Supreme Court offers an online calculator for non-attorneys.
While the number of factors utilized to calculate is low, there are variables that can impact the child support calculation. For instance, there may be dispute as to the actual income of one or both of the parties, or the number of overnights that are actually exercised by the non-custodial parent.