Highland Child Support Attorneys Handle Modification Orders after New Age 19 Cutoff

April 10, 2012

Highland child support attorneys expect significant action in the area of child support modification orders after a new state law takes effect in July, which lowers the cutoff age for receiving support to 19.

Lawmakers this year lowered the emancipation age from 21 to 19.1380007_one_dollar.jpg

Support for education expenses are exempted from the new law. The law takes effect July 1 and applies to all child support orders, according to Sen. Brent Steele, R-Bedford, who sponsored the bill. The measure made few waves amid a full legislative session that included full-day kindergarten and government reforms. But actually represents a major change in the law governing Indiana divorce and child support.

Warrick County Superior Court Judge Robert Aylsworth told the paper lowering the emancipation age is "an enormous change" that will likely result in a surge of child support modification requests and orders.

While child support is calculated using a formula set by the state, the new order means a paying parent may only be subject to the order until a child turns 19. Income and the amount of time a parent spends with the child are also factored in -- primary reasons why most child support modification orders are requested.

The change in law will likely prompt many to seek a modification order for that reason alone. Those seeking a reduction, or parents concerned support for their child may be impacted, should speak to an experienced child support lawyer. July is right around the corner and the law change will likely impact many families and young adults throughout Indiana.

Only two states and the District of Columbia continue to extend child-support orders to age 21. While there is some question about whether Indiana intended its law to be retroactive, divorce attorneys in Highland and elsewhere say it should apply to all child support orders.

The exemption for educational expenses is another bone of contention. Can a child's living expenses be considered if a child is in college but living at home? These and other questions are best answered by an experienced family law attorney. But the change in law is a clear victory for many parents who will not have to continue paying child support for an additional two years.

Others argue existing support orders should be honored. And that many fathers no longer pay after age 18 anyway. That fact waters down Indiana's overall child-support collection rate, and thus impacts federal funding.

Another issue with the education exemption: Those who have support orders in place before July 1 can still file for educational needs until age 21. But those with support orders after the law takes effect must petition for educational needs before age 19, when the support cutoff would take effect.

Highland Family Law Attorney Burton A. Padove handles child support matters throughout northern Indiana, including Gary, Hammond and Calumet City. Call Toll Free 877-446-5294.

Additional Resources
Indiana lowers cutoff age to 19 for receiving child support, Evansville Post-Tribune.

Indiana Pet Custody Cases Becoming More Common in Divorces, Indiana Injury and Family Lawyer Blog, March 20, 2012.