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How long will you pay? Indiana child support rules change July 1

May 18, 2012|By Kristin Bien (kbien@wsbt.com)

The state of Indiana is about to make major changes to its child support laws, putting it in sync with most other states. Starting July 1, the age of emancipation will be 19 instead of 21.

This means after the child turns 19 years old ... a parent no longer pays support, meaning a big change for families who not only pay ... but receive support.


  • For people with one child ... they can just stop paying as of July 1.
  • If child support payments are withheld from your paycheck, you will need court approval to have those stopped.
  • If you are paying child support for more than one child, that court order will remain in effect until a judge modifies the support order.
  • Any overpayment to the recipient, after July 1, will need to be paid back. (That is an important note for anyone receiving child support money.)
  • Back child support doesn't go away. That will still need to be paid back.
  • If you have a college-bound child and you are receiving support under an existing court order, you have until their 21st birthday to petition for additional education-related assistance. Children who receive support under orders issued after July 1, will have to make such requests by their 19th birthdays.


TWO PARENTS, TWO VIEWS

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In the 12 years since Carolyn Taylor and her ex-husband have been divorced, it hasn't been easy getting him to support his son, Austin.

"It is real struggle for most people," says Taylor.

While Taylor's son is still years away from graduating high school she is concerned about the new law going into effect in July. After Austin turns 19 ... if he doesn't go to college, any support she was getting from his father will end.

"I understand that we made this child and in essence I am the parent and I have to take responsibility, but he needs to be held accountable too," says Taylor, "And I am tired of it."

Taylor feels this new law is just another way to let the payer off the hook.

Scott Laird, a South Bend father of three, pays his child support religiously. He agrees with the change and says many kids at that age are out of high school and supporting themselves ... so it doesn't make sense that parents should continue paying child support after age 19.

Still, Laird doesn't believe this should be an excuse for parents to stop seeing and supporting their children.

"I love my kids. All I want to do is see them," says Laird, "I don't care, I'll pay child support until 19 or 21. I'll always support my kids."


LEGAL RAMIFICATIONS

"This is a significant change in the law," says local attorney Mark James of Anderson, Agostino & Keller

James, whose practice has focused on family law for the past 27 years, doesn't know how many people this will affect, but it will mean major changes for Indiana families.

"The age of emancipation has been 21 for as long as I have practiced," says James, "it is going to affect a lot of people. Whether directly or indirectly, it is going to change the way a lot of people handle their kids."

CLICK HERE for the Indiana Department of Child Services 'Child Support' Web site

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