Which Support Calculator Are You Using? What Do the Numbers Mean?

By Richard Mann, Richard A. Mann, P.C., Indianapolis

Recently there was a question posed as to why The Indiana Support Master Software and the Indiana Supreme Court Calculator resulted in different support amounts with the seemingly same numbers. The example given, involved a Father who was designated as the non-custodial parent exercising 190 overnights per year, leaving Mother with 175 overnights. As the designated custodial parent, Mother was to pay the amount commonly known as the 6% rule amount for uninsured health expenses and the controlled expenses. Based on Father making a gross income of $2,500 a week and Mother making a gross income of $750 a week and no other variables, what is the support amount? When calculating child support you must pay close attention to all the factors. It appears that using the Support Master when you designate who the Payor is, you are basically deciding who will be attributed the parenting time credit and who pays the controlled expenses. If the person is the Payor then that person receives the parenting time credit and the other pays the controlled expenses. If you want the person with more than 183 overnights to receive the credit for the additional overnights then in the Support Master you must list the other person as the Payor. You would then need to address the controlled expenses if the person with the most overnights is not paying them. A person who is not the “custodial parent” may have more overnights in a situation where that person does not work in the summer and has more overnights as a result of time in excess of the guidelines in the summer. In the Supreme Court calculator, you can put both at 183 and then you are asked to select who pays the controlled expenses. By switching who is designated to pay the controlled expenses, you can see the difference it causes in the support amount and then adjust your support order accordingly.

INDIANA SUPPORT MASTER
The Indiana Support Master lists on page 1 the third line of item 7 “credit for parenting time for 190 overnights” and the result is credit of $90.60 for Father. This results in Father paying $149.40 or $149 per week as it is rounded down to the nearest even dollar amount. It then lists Mother as paying the first $973.44 of uninsured medical i.e. the 6% rule. Now go to the parenting time credit worksheet on line 1PT it says 183. This is because the child support guidelines parenting time credit table does not go beyond 50-50 or 183 overnights. It appears that the guidelines assume if you have more than 183 overnights you are the custodial parent. So if you make Father the custodial parent with Mother having the 175 overnights the resulting support is $98.35 and Father pays the 6% amount. If you use 183 overnights each such as in an equal time arrangement and Mother is the custodial parent under Indiana Support Master, Father still pays the $149, and Mother pays the 6% amount and all controlled expenses. If Father is designated the custodial parent he pays $103 per week, the 6% amount, and all controlled expenses. It should be noted that controlled expenses account for approximately 15% of the cost of raising a child.

INDIANA SUPREME COURT CALCULATOR
If you use the same scenario as above and use those numbers into this calculator, in the first example you have Father paying $94 and the calculator automatically defaults and assumes the Father is custodial parent. The issue with the default in the program is that in the comments on the worksheet it says Custodial Parent Annual Obligation is $973.44 on the 6% rule. It does not identify which parent is presumed to be Custodial in the calculation. One might say well it is obvious is it not? We all know that at times designation as to who is custodial is very important to people unrelated to the support obligation. In the second scenario above this calculator asks you who will pay the controlled expenses and changes the support by approximately $45 a week. To obtain a number closer to credit with 190 overnights, you select one person at 184+and the other at 181-183 and designate the person who you want to pay controlled expenses.

The point of this article is that if you are using shared custody arrangements in an agreement, you must also designate who pays the controlled expenses that include, but are not limited to, the uninsured medical expenses. It appears that neither calculator will give you a number, which gives the person not paying controlled expenses, more than 183-184 overnights.

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Richard A. Mann has been practicing Family Law for more than 36 years in the Indianapolis area and throughout the State of Indiana. He is a Certified Family Law Specialist as certified by the Family Law Certification Committee, a Registered Family Law and Civil Law Mediator and Guardian ad Litem and Parenting Coordinator. Mr. Mann and his firm, Richard A. Mann, P.C. Attorneys at Law, are proud to have been one of the firms who represented Same-Sex couples who were successful in overturning Indiana’s ban on Same-Sex marriage. He continues to fight discrimination in the law.

While a large portion of Mr. Mann’s practice is in the Family Law area he also represents several corporations on contract, personnel and other matters. He also has a varied General Practice in wills, estates, juvenile matters, collections, probate throughout the state of Indiana. Mr. Mann has tried murder cases as well as a death penalty case.

Mr. Mann has been selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers SuperLawyers Edition for 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 & 2016.

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This blog does not constitute legal advice nor does it establish an attorney client relationship. This is for general information purposes as in most legal situations the facts and terms of an agreement between the parties can affect the result.

ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN

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