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.

Follow Richard Mann on FacebookTwitter, or read more blogs by him here.

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

Posted in Law Blogs0 Comments

Notes on Negotiation: First Impressions Count

Notes on Negotiations
By Marty Latz, Latz Negotiation Institute

“How do you feel about your potential business partner? What does your gut tell you?”

Gut feelings – good or bad – can make or break a negotiation. And little has a greater impact on how you feel, and how your counterpart feels about you, than first impressions. In fact, the research finds that first impressions disproportionately impact our perceptions.

With this in mind, how can we maximize the positive impact of our first impressions on our counterparts? And how can we better evaluate our initial assessments of others?

Consider how to strategically influence the following:

  • Your message and goals

Do you want to initially send the message that you’re aggressive but reasonable? Or that you work well in teams? Or that you’re a risk-taking entrepreneurial type? Or that you’re a reliable, respected professional? Or a combination?

What is your goal with that first impression? How do you want your counterpart describe you after they’ve reached a first impression? Your strategy should derive from this.

  • How you can influence the context

Initial impressions often are driven by the person or way in which we first come into contact with our counterparts.

I was recently with a client in Canada who offered to introduce me to one of his business colleagues, who could also become a client. This potential client’s first impression of me will come from a friend, colleague and reference, which is a huge advantage.

You can often achieve this advantage with research ahead of time.  Numerous online resources, social media, and networking platforms can help you determine if you have contacts, clients, or interests in common.

You may be able to reach out to a mutual acquaintance to facilitate an introduction, or at least mention the relationship in your initial meeting.

Of course, the principle applies to you as well. Make sure your online and social media presence, posted by you and about you by others, communicates the right signals. Your reputation will almost always precede you.

  • How you make, or reply to, the first contact

Should you initially meet in person, by phone, or in writing?

I often recommend initial personal meetings if at all feasible. It’s usually the optimal environment to develop positive first impressions, especially in our technology-driven world. Companies spend a ton of money to send folks halfway around the world just to make the right first impression. They should.

Investment bankers also regularly set up personal meetings so their sellers can meet potential buyers. Why? To get and make first impressions and find out who has that crucial “connection.”

I once consulted on a deal where our entire deal team flew 3,000 miles for a 2-hour meeting with the private equity group that was considering whether to buy my client’s company. This deal would not have occurred but for that meeting and the first impressions formed there.

Also consider:

  • where to initially meet (formal or informal restaurant or bar, office conference room or personal office, a coffee place, etc.);
  • whether to include food or a meal or a drink (over breakfast, lunch, or dinner, or for coffee or wine, etc.); and
  • how you appear (business suit, casual business attire, jeans, etc.).

Each decision here sends a different signal.

  • Building rapport

Research shows that effective negotiators ask at least twice as many questions as others. Make sure you ask questions about them and listen, not just talk.

And build rapport and connect by exploring common personal interests, like sports, family, kids or music. Don’t just talk business. In fact, consider sharing some personal elements on which you can build deeper connections.

Of course, this needs to be sincere and natural. Otherwise it may appear manipulative, which would be counterproductive.

I still remember a 3-hour dinner I had with a new client in Nashville years ago. We touched on many personal and business subjects that affected our lives.

Our connection, based on that first impression, remains strong to this day.

Latz’s Lesson: First impressions lead to lasting conclusions. Make them count.

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Marty Latz is the founder of Latz Negotiation Institute, a national negotiation training and consulting company, and ExpertNegotiator, a Web-based software company that helps managers and negotiators more effectively negotiate and implement best practices based on the experts’ proven research.  He is also the author of Gain the Edge! Negotiating to Get What You Want (St. Martin’s Press 2004). He can be reached at 480-951-3222 or Latz@ExpertNegotiator.com

ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN

Posted in Negotiation/Mediation Blog0 Comments

COA Says Adoption Order Erroneously Issued by Trial Court

Case: In Re: the Adoption of S.O., A.O., and N.O., P.P. v. A.O.
by Mike Kohlhaas, Bingham Greenebaum Doll

HELD: Trial court erroneously issued an adoption order when it dispensed with the statutorily required background check, and did not consolidate a pending paternity action involving the same children with the adoption proceeding.

HELD: An adoption court is required to consolidate any paternity cases involving the child before ruling on the adoption petition.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY:
Father and Biological Mother had three children together, out of wedlock. Father’s paternity was established in 2012; as part of that proceeding, Father did not know Biological Mother’s address, so she was served by publication and did not attend the hearing. The paternity matter awarded Father physical and legal custody of the children, as well as a child support and parenting time order for Biological Mother.

Biological Mother would go on to have limited involvement with the children, seeing them roughly once a month when they were at her mother’s home. She also gave them birthday presents.

Father remarried in 2009, and, in 2015, his wife, Adoptive Mother, filed a verified petition to adopt the children. Biological Mother learned of this, and filed both an objection in the adoption court, and a motion to set aside the paternity order in the paternity court – citing lack of personal jurisdiction over her.

After a hearing, the adoption court granted Adoptive Mother’s petition to adopt the children, concluding that Biological Mother’s consent was unnecessary because she failed to support the children in a meaningful way for over a year. Biological Mother appealed.

The Court of Appeals had various issues with how this adoption was handled, but found one to be dispositive: Ind. Code 31-9-2-22.5 requires a particular background check for any would-be adoptive parent. The Court concluded that the limited check in this case did not substantially comply with the statute and, because the underlying policy for the background check is the safety of the children, Father’s argument that Biological Mother invited this error was unpersuasive.

The Court also decided, in a matter of first impression, that any paternity case involving a child must be consolidated into an adoption proceeding involving the child. When an adoption case and paternity case involving the same child are pending at the same time, the adoption court acquires exclusive jurisdiction. If the paternity matter were not consolidated into the adoption matter, then the adoption could be granted and then closed, leaving the paternity matter open but in limbo because of its lost jurisdiction over the child. If the adoption court always consolidates the paternity matter into it, it can issue consistent orders that resolve both adoption and paternity.

The trial court’s adoption order was reversed, and remanded with instructions to consolidate the paternity matter and to undertake a statutorily compliant background check.

To view the text of this opinion in its entirety, click here:
In Re: the Adoption of S.O., A.O., and N.O., P.P. v. A.O.

 

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James A. Reed and Michael R. Kohlhaas of Bingham Greenebaum Doll represent clients in a wide spectrum of relationship transition and wealth planning matters, including premarital agreements, estate planning, cohabitation, separation, divorce (especially involving high net worth individuals and/or complex asset issues), custody, parenting arrangements, adoption, and domestic partnerships. Bingham Greenebaum Doll, a multidisciplinary law firm serving regional, national, and international clients, is the fourth-largest law firm in Indiana. The firm’s main practices include corporate, property, litigation, labor, government law, and personal services law. Visit the firm’s website at www.bgdlegal.com.

ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN

Posted in Family Law Case Review0 Comments

Court of Appeals Affirms Mother is Unemployed with Just Cause

Case: Tracy K. Barber v. Amy Henry
by Mike Kohlhaas, Bingham Greenebaum Doll

HELD: Trial court did not abuse its discretion when it concluded that Mother, who scaled back and then eventually quit working as a physician in order to care for her special needs children, should not be imputed to more than minimum wage for child support purposes.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY:
Mother and Father had Child in 1999. The parties shared joint legal custody, with Mother providing primary physical custody subject to Father’s “liberal visitation.” Mother re-married, and her children – including Child – and the child of her new husband had various developmental challenges, such as autism and ADHD.

Mother had worked as a physician, but began working less and less to spend more time at home dealing with the children’s needs, therapy appointments, and eventually some home schooling. Mother’s husband was a full-time physician, providing Mother the easier financial option of working less. By late 2014, Mother quit working altogether, partly a result of an incident at Father’s house which left Child charged with a juvenile incident, after which Child was placed on house arrest and suicide watch.  One of Child’s probation requirements was no contact with Father.

In 2015, litigation between Mother and Father erupted on various issues, most relevant to this appeal being a child support recalculation. After a hearing, the trial court calculated child support with Mother at minimum wage, finding that Mother’s departure from the workforce was not unreasonable and not devised to avoid child support. Father appealed.

The Court of Appeals reviewed the case law on imputation of income, noting that “[i]t is not our function . . . to approve or disapprove of the lifestyle of [parents] or their career choices and the means by which they choose to discharge their obligations in general.”  The Court’s “review of the record leaves us convinced that Mother is unemployed with just cause.” [Notably, the opinion did not seem to address in detail Father’s central gravamen on appeal, which was not that Mother should be imputed income based upon Mother’s own potential income, but instead a Gilpin-type imputation to Mother based upon the financial resources shared with her by her new husband that allowed Mother the option not to work.]

The trial court’s calculation of child support was affirmed.

To view the text of this opinion in its entirety, click here: Tracy K. Barber v. Amy Henry

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James A. Reed and Michael R. Kohlhaas of Bingham Greenebaum Doll represent clients in a wide spectrum of relationship transition and wealth planning matters, including premarital agreements, estate planning, cohabitation, separation, divorce (especially involving high net worth individuals and/or complex asset issues), custody, parenting arrangements, adoption, and domestic partnerships. Bingham Greenebaum Doll, a multidisciplinary law firm serving regional, national, and international clients, is the fourth-largest law firm in Indiana. The firm’s main practices include corporate, property, litigation, labor, government law, and personal services law. Visit the firm’s website at www.bgdlegal.com.

ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN

Posted in Family Law Case Review0 Comments

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