Frequently Asked Questions

Section 1: Opening a Case

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Whom can I contact for general information about child support on my case?
Many of the answers to questions you may have will be listed below. To check on payments, call the KIDS LINE at 1-800-840-8757 or access them at www.mychildsupport.in.gov. To obtain a payment history record or a preexisting child support court order, you will need to contact the Monroe County Clerk’s Office. To obtain specific information regarding your case, you will need to contact your caseworker.

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Who is permitted to open a case in your office?
All residents of Monroe County are eligible to open a case in our office. If the non-custodial parent lives in Monroe County and the custodial parent lives outside the county, it is recommended that a case be opened in the child support office where the custodial parent resides.

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There is no charge for our services.

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May I open an arrears only (typically referred to as “back child support”) case?
Yes. A case may be opened in our office even if the children have emancipated or the child support order has terminated for another reason. However, there are legal issues that may impact our ability to collect on arrearage.

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My divorce decree orders the other parent to pay me child support. However, he/she has not paid as ordered by the court. Can your office help collect my child support from the other parent?
Our office can assist in collecting child support if there is a valid court order for the non-custodial parent to pay child support. The same administrative remedies and court actions exist for child support enforcement regardless of whether the child support order is part of a divorce decree or a paternity action.

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How do I open a case with your office?
You will need to complete an application form and return the application to our office. You may also come to our office to complete an application. Please note that not completing the required information will cause a delay in the processing of your case.

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Section 2: Paternity Establishment

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What is the importance of establishing paternity?
Establishing paternity has many benefits for both you and your child(ren). By establishing paternity you solidify and more clearly define parental rights and responsibilities such as custody and parenting time that can help foster the parent/child relationship.

Additionally, there are numerous legal reasons as to why establishing paternity can be important. Paternity establishment affects other areas of law such as: education, insurance, health, taxation, probate, and disability law. Many times, paternity establishment is necessary for your child to receive Social Security disability benefits. The following excerpt from the Indiana Social Security Newsletter provides an excellent example of how establishing paternity can tangentially affect other areas of law:

“Most people think of Social Security as a part of their retirement plan, but Social Security is also a family protection plan with benefits for children, too. About 4 million children, including 80,000 children in Indiana, receive approximately $1.9 billion each month because one or both of their parents are disabled, retired or deceased. Those dollars help to provide the necessities of life for family members and help to make it possible for those children to complete high school. [Therefore, it is] important that parents are aware of who can [acquire] benefits based on their Social Security earnings record — and when.”

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I am the mother of a child and I would like to establish Paternity for that child. What do I do?
See the answer to the question “How do I open a case with your office” referenced above. Once you have filled out the forms, you should bring them to our office along with any documents you have regarding the birth of the child. After you have returned the Application, you will be requested to fill out a Paternity Questionnaire and provide a Certified Copy of your child’s birth certificate. If the father signed a paternity affidavit and a “Rights and Responsibilities” form, you will need to provide that as well.

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I was served with papers stating that I have been named as a father in a Paternity Action. What are my options?
The papers you received should contain an Order to Appear at a hearing date in court before the child support commissioner. That courtroom is located in the Curry Building at 214 W. Seventh St., Suite 131, Bloomington, IN 47404. You should make arrangements to appear in court as required and arrive approximately 10 minutes before your hearing time on the specified date. The first hearing is called the Initial Hearing, at which time the judge will explain to you what the Paternity Petition means and notify you of your rights and options in the case. You will have a chance to ask any questions at that hearing.

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Do I have a right to a DNA test in a Paternity Case?
Either party in a Paternity Case may ask that a DNA test be given. The Court will ask you if you want a DNA test at the Initial Hearing.

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Who pays for a DNA test in a Paternity Case?
A DNA test currently costs $23.00 per person for a total of $69 for both parents and one child. If an alleged father cannot afford to initially pay for the test, then the State of Indiana will provide the funds for the test to take place. If the alleged father is found to in fact be the biological father of the child, he will be ordered to reimburse the State of Indiana for the cost of the test. If the test does not show a biological relationship, then the Court may order the mother to reimburse the funds to the State.

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How is a DNA test performed?
The DNA testing procedure is very simple. The DNA samples are gathered from the cells on the inside of the cheek using a “buccal swab” which is essentially similar to a large cotton swab. The sterile swab is simply rubbed on the inside of the cheek and then sealed in an envelope for testing. The sampling procedure takes only a few minutes and is completely painless.

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If I believe that I am the father, can I admit to paternity without a DNA test?
If you believe that you are the father, the Court will permit you to admit paternity without a DNA test, if you so desire. However, the Court will strongly encourage you to take the test, even if you believe that you are the father. Once your admission is accepted by the court and the Paternity Case is completed, it is extremely difficult to go back and change the paternity finding that has been made. Since the test is relatively inexpensive, the Court will encourage you to request a test under any circumstances.

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Do I have the right to a court appointed attorney in a paternity case?
You do not have the right to a Court appointed attorney at the Paternity Establishment stage. However, if you need time to find and hire your own attorney, the Court will usually allow you a reasonable period of time to do so. If you cannot afford to hire an attorney, the Court may provide you with information about available options for obtaining representation at a reduced cost.

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What if I don’t agree with the results of a paternity test?
If you don’t agree with the Paternity Test you may challenge that test in Court. However, the procedure requires specific evidence that the test is faulty in some way and the challenge must meet various legal requirements. You are strongly encouraged to obtain legal counsel if you desire to challenge a test in this fashion.

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Do I have a right to a trial even if the DNA test shows that I am the father?
You do have the right to request that the Court set the Paternity case for a contested hearing on the matter of paternity. That hearing will be before the Judge, since you do not have the right to a Jury Trial in a Paternity Case. If the Paternity test shows a “Probability of Paternity” in excess of 99%, then the law presumes that the person tested is the child’s biological father. Therefore, even if you request that the matter go to a hearing on the paternity, the State may file a Motion for Summary Judgment which asks the Court to rule against you without the necessity of a hearing because of that presumption.

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What rights as a father do I have once Paternity is established?
If you are found to be the father of a child, then you have full parental rights and responsibilities for that child. The court will hold a hearing to determine the appropriate amount of child support as well as to determine the matters of custody and parenting time for the child. In addition, issues of a change of name for the child, and provisions for the payment of medical and educational expenses may also arise.

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Section 3: Establishing a Court Order

I was served with papers from your office indicating that a request for child support has been filed. What are my options? Can I request genetic testing?
You must make arrangements to appear at the child support hearing. If you fail to appear, the Court may issue an order in your absence and you will generally lose any right to object to that order. If paternity has not been established, or a paternity affidavit has not been signed, you may request a genetic test to determine if you are the biological father of the child(ren). (See Paternity Establishment above). You may be represented by an attorney at the child support hearing, but the Court will not appoint an attorney for you. At the hearing, the Court will deal with issues of child support establishment, medical support and insurance. If you wish the Court to hear evidence regarding parenting time and/or custody, along with any other non-child support related issues, you will need to file such a request with the Court before the hearing date.

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How is the amount of child support determined?
Child support is computed using the Indiana Child Support Guidelines. A child support worksheet is prepared to determine what the appropriate child support order should be. If you would like to calculate the child support under the Indiana Guidelines, you should go to the Indiana Child Support Calculator on the state website. The income of both the mother and the father is considered, as well as overnight parenting time, other biological children the parties may have, day care expenses, and health insurance.

You should bring any papers or other documentation that you have on these issues to the hearing to establish child support. You should bring the most recent 3-4 pay stubs you have received from your employer. If you are self employed, you should bring documentation of your income and expenses. If your income fluctuates, you should bring evidence of income over a longer period, including tax returns and accompanying documents to show what your income has been over time. In addition to income questions, the Court will need to know how much overnight parenting time the parties have had. If you have any records of parenting time, you should bring those records with you.

The Court will also need information on the cost of providing insurance for your child or children. You will need to get that information from your employer, if you don’t have it already. You will be asked to provide evidence to the Court of the cost of the insurance for the child or children of the case only (not including any other children or adults that are covered).

If you have expenses for day care or after school care, or any other child care that is required because of your job, then you should bring the information about the cost of that care over a year’s time. For instance, if the cost of the care goes up and down depending on school or the season, you should bring the entire year’s cost so that it can be averaged for the purposes of child support.

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Section 4: Payment of Child Support

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How can I pay my child support?
You may pay child support in several different ways. See below FAQs for how to pay with cash, checks or money orders or with a credit card.

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Must I have my support taken out of my pay through an Income Withholding Order?
IC 31-16-15 requires that child support be paid through an Income Withholding Order if the payor is employed. Such an Income Withholding Order can be issued either by the court or the Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office and sent directly to your employer. The Income Withholding Order requires that the employer withhold the appropriate amounts of the child support from your pay and forward it to the Indiana State Central Collection Unit, where it will be applied to your child support case and distributed to the custodial parent as ordered by the Court.

An income withholding order is required even if you are an independent contractor who is working for another person or a company. Under the rules of child support income withholding, your employer can be required to withhold up to 65% of your disposable income for child support purposes. Your disposable income is your gross pay minus any taxes and social security amounts that are withheld. Child support withholdings have priority over any other withholdings or garnishments from your paycheck. The law provides that there are very limited exceptions to the requirement that support be paid through an Income Withholding Order. These exceptions can only be applied through a specific court order and only in very specific, limited and rare circumstances.

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Can I come in and pay cash for my child support?
You may always come in and pay child support in cash through the Monroe County Clerk’s Office. Cash payment will not avoid the requirement of an Income Withholding Order being issued. However, you can still pay extra support on your arrearage or to make up a shortfall in the Income Withholding Order amount that was withheld by coming into the Clerk’s office and paying cash. Be sure to obtain a receipt for any cash payments you make. Please note that the Clerk takes cash payments only on support. If you want to pay in any other fashion, see the FAQs below.

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I want to pay my child support with a check or money order. How can I do that?
You may pay your support using a check or money order. You cannot pay with a check or money order in the Monroe County Clerk’s Office. You must mail the check or money order to INSCCU, P.O. Box 7130, Indianapolis, IN 46207-7130. You should include with your payment a copy of the Child Support Remittance Form with as much of the requested information on the form as you are able to provide. The use of that form will help in the application of the payment to the proper case and speed up the payment processing. Your ISETS Case Number and Court Cause Number can be found on your Payment History that you can obtain from the Clerk’s Office. In addition, the Court Cause Number will be on your court documents in the case. If you don’t know your ISETS case number, you should contact the Kidsline at 1-800-840-8757. INSCCU will accept checks, as long as you have not written a bad check for child support. If you write a check that does not clear, any further payment that you make through INSCCU must be made using money orders or cashier’s checks.

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Can I pay my child support using my credit card?
You may now pay your child support using a credit card through the State Child Support website using the state Online Credit Card Payment Form. Please note that a convenience fee of 2.25% of the amount paid (minimum $1.00) will be assessed by Value Payment Systems at the time of payment and the fee is non-refundable. Also please note that if your child support case is less than 7 days old, this payment option is not available to you. It is recommended that you print a copy of your receipt. The system accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, credit and debit cards.

Child support payments can also be paid over the phone using a credit/debit card. The toll free number is 1-855-972-9427 and is available 24 hours/7 days a week. Non-custodial parents (NCPs) must enter their Social Security Number, 10 digit ISETS case number, payment amount, credit/debit card information, and phone number when prompted by the system. NCPs will be charged a convenience fee of 2.25% of the total amount of the child support payment paid.

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Can I set up an automatic withdrawal of my child support from my bank account?
We are sorry, but the option of setting up an automatic withdrawal for child support from your bank account is not currently available.

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Can I pay my child support directly to the custodial parent?
Indiana Law I.C. 31-16-9-1 requires that all support payments be made through the Clerk’s Office or INSCCU. If you make payments directly to the custodial parent, the Court may consider those payments as a gift and not give you credit for the payments toward your child support.

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Where can I get a record of the payments that I have made on child support?
To check on payments, call the KIDS LINE at 1-800-840-8757 or access them at www.mychildsupport.in.gov. To obtain a full payment history record, you will need to contact the Monroe County Clerk’s Office located at 301 N. College Ave., Room 201, Bloomington, IN..

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I am an employer of someone who owes child support.
Visit the Information for Employers page.

Section 5: Enforcing Court Orders

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I dispute the amount of arrears I owe.
If you are disputing the amount of arrears owed, please provide information on why you believe that the arrearage amount is incorrect (missing court orders, misapplied payments, etc.) and mail the information to your caseworker. The caseworker will conduct an arrearage review. In this review, the caseworker will use the payment history records (which you can obtain at the Monroe County Clerk’s Office) and any other information that you provide. You will receive a letter in the mail detailing the results of the review once the review is completed. If you still contest the arrearage owed, you may file an action in court regarding your dispute.

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An income withholding order has been sent to the non-custodial parent’s employer. When can I expect the first payment?
Once an employer has received an income withholding order, the employer must start withholding from the non-custodial parent’s earnings no later than the first pay period that occurs after 14 days following the date the notice was mailed. Thereafter, the proper amount must be withheld and forward each time the non-custodial parent is paid. Typically, if an employee is paid every 2 weeks, it takes around 4 weeks for the first payment to be remitted by the employer to the Indiana State Central Collection Unit (INSCCU).

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Why has my driver’s license been suspended for failing to pay child support?
A child support obligor’s driver’s license may be suspended if said obligor either fails to pay child support for 3 consecutive months or owes more than $2,000.00 in arrearages. Please contact your caseworker if your driver’s license has been suspended. Your caseworker will inform you of the requirements you will need to satisfy in order to have the driver’s license suspension lifted.

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How far behind in arrears must a non-custodial parent be before collections begin?
The Child Support Program will begin to work on a case immediately after it opens and will begin procedures to collect both current support and any arrearage that may exist. If the arrearage has been determined by the court, then the Caseworker will establish collection of the amounts indicated in the court order. If there is an arrearage that has not yet been confirmed by the Court, an additional amount will be added to your current support for collection purposes until the matter can be brought before the Court.

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How long does a child support order exist?
Child support may be collected until the child becomes emancipated, although an order for educational needs may continue in effect until further order of the court. The emancipation age in Indiana regarding child support is 19 (effective 7/1/2012). However, a child may be emancipated prior to age 19 in accordance with I.C. §31-16-6-6(a)(3) if the child:
(A) is at least eighteen (18) years of age;
(B) has not attended a secondary school or postsecondary educational institution for the prior four (4) months and is not enrolled in a secondary school or postsecondary educational institution; and
(C) is or is capable of supporting himself or herself through employment.
However, if the Court finds that the child is (or is capable of) only partially supporting himself or herself, then the Court may modify the support instead of terminating it.
If the Court finds that the child:
(1) is on active duty in the United States armed services;
(2) has married; or
(3) is not under the care or control of:
(A) either parent; or
(B) an individual or agency approved by the court;
the court shall find the child emancipated and terminate the child support.

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My tax refund was intercepted even though I have been making payments through income withholding. Can I get my refund back?
Your tax refund will be offset as long as you owe child support arrears that meet federal criteria. Please reference the tax information section (section 8) of this page for further tax offset information.

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What tools does your office have to enforce a child support order if the Noncustodial Parent is not willing to cooperate?

Our office can engage in a wide variety of measures to enforce a child support order – under administrative, civil and criminal law. Child Support Orders may be enforced by the following administrative and civil methods:

  • Contempt of court proceedings or supplemental proceedings
  • Withholding child support from wages, including unemployment benefits
  • Reporting of delinquent support obligors to credit agencies
  • Seizure of bank accounts
  • Seizure of proceeds from lawsuits, inheritances, etc.
  • Seizure of federal and state income tax refunds and lottery winnings
  • Driver’s license and professional license suspensions
  • Vehicle liens and other property liens
  • Non-payment letters/delinquency notices
  • Administrative Hearings
  • DNR license suspensions (hunting/fishing licenses)
  • Passport denials or suspensions

The Child Support Program may also issue actions to establish and enforce child support orders in other states and foreign countries through the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act.

The failure to support a dependent child may also be considered a criminal offense – which may be a Level 6 or a Level 5 felony depending on the circumstances.  In addition to the civil enforcement remedies, the Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office evaluates whether to file criminal charges in appropriate non-support cases.

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How is it possible that I am delinquent with my child support payments when I have always paid through income withholding?
Your child support order could have been retroactively ordered; meaning, your obligation started before the hearing when the judge ordered you to pay child support. Additionally, you may have developed an arrearage by missing a payment when you changed employers or during an unemployment benefit waiting period. Even if your employer has been withholding the maximum amount possible from your pay, if the current child support exceeds the designated maximum withholding amount listed in the income withholding order so that the amount withheld does not quite cover the current accrued support, then the unpaid amount would create an arrearage which can add up over weeks or months.

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Can child support payments be directly deposited into my bank account or onto my debit card?
As of January 2008, the Indiana Child Support Bureau will no longer be printing paper checks for child support payments. All payments posted by the Indiana State Central Collection Unit (INSCCU) will be sent to custodial parents electronically, either by direct deposit or by using the Indiana Visa® Debit Card. Custodial parents may choose which method of electronic payment they prefer. The payment method selected will be in effect for all child support cases belonging to a custodial parent.

Direct Deposit: Child support payments are deposited into a custodial parent’s personal checking or savings account. If a custodial parent chooses to have direct deposit, he/she must complete and return the Direct Deposit Authorization form with all necessary documentation to the Indiana State Central Collection Unit (INSCCU). After an initial ten (10) day waiting period to allow the State to verify the banking information received with the financial institution, any child support payments received will begin to be directly deposited into the account. Custodial parents who have questions about direct deposit should contact the Kidsline at (317) 233-5437 or (800) 840-8757.

Indiana Visa® Debit Card: The Indiana Visa® Debit Card is designed for safety and convenience. The debit card account is a good choice if a custodial parent wishes to keep support payments separate from a personal bank account, or if a custodial parent does not have a personal banking account. The new debit card service will also allow a custodial parent to enroll for free automated phone or email notification of deposits to the debit card account. (Please note that this service is not offered for direct deposit.) Custodial parents with questions about the new Indiana Visa® Debit Card should call the Debit Card customer service line at 1-888-393-5866 or click on the links below for more information.

For further information, please see the Indiana State Child Support Website for Direct Deposit or Debit Card page.

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My spouse’s portion of our joint tax return was intercepted. Can his/her portion of the refund be returned?
Yes. Please refer to the Injured Spouse section of the Tax Refund Offset section (section 8) of this page.

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My bank account was frozen and the balance taken for child support. What can I do?
If our office places a levy on your bank account(s), the bank will freeze your account(s) and distribute the levied amount to the Indiana State Central Collection Unit. The levied sum will thereafter be applied to your child support case. Please contact your caseworker if you dispute the levy placed on your bank account(s).

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When does failing to pay child support become a crime?
A felony charge of Non-support of a Dependent Child is typically filed when all civil enforcement has proven to be ineffective. A felony charge may be considered when certain criteria are met, including, but not limited to: an arrearage exceeding $5,000.00, whether the non-custodial parent has failed to make periodic payments in reasonable amounts under the circumstances, whether the Noncustodial parent has failed to appear for Court hearings or cooperate with the civil, less coercive enforcement measures. Please contact your caseworker if you want your case reviewed for a felony.

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I am currently receiving SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and cannot afford to pay child support. What should I do?
If you are receiving SSI, it is important that you immediately contact your caseworker who can review your documents and determine if future child support is due.

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I am currently receiving Unemployment Insurance benefits and/or Disability Insurance benefits. Must I still pay child support?
Yes. Your child support order continues until changed by the Court. However, you should contact your Caseworker and discuss a possible modification of your support. If the Noncustodial Parent is receiving Social Security Disability, then it is possible that Social Security benefits should also come to the child. Such benefits can have an immense effect on the support you are required to pay under the guidelines. Therefore, a Petition to Modify Support is normally appropriate.

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Why can I not obtain a passport?
All child support cases with an arrearage exceeding $2,500.00 or more will be denied a passport until the child support arrearage is paid in full or satisfactory payment arrangements are made. You should contact your Caseworker to discuss such arrangements.
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Section 6: Modifying Existing Court Orders

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Does your office modify child support orders?
Every child support case in our office is entitled to a review for modification. Our office will review your case for a modification so long as the case is currently open and one year has passed since the last review of your support order.

Under Indiana Code §31-16-8-1, a child support order may be modified only:

1) upon a showing of changed circumstances so substantial and continuing as to make the terms unreasonable; or

2) upon a showing that:

a) a party has been ordered to pay an amount in child support that differs by more than twenty percent (20%) from the amount that would be ordered by applying child support guidelines; and

b) the order requested to be modified or revoked was issued at least twelve (12) months before the petition requesting modification was filed.

If after review a modification appears to be justified, then the Child Support Program will file a Motion to Modify and the matter will be set for a hearing before the Court. You will be required to attend that hearing.

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Can the other party and I avoid having to go to court to modify our court order?
Yes. If both parties are in agreement, you can request that a caseworker review your case for a modification. You will need to provide information regarding why you believe your support should change along with all financial, income, parenting time and insurance information requested by your case worker that will be needed to complete a new child support worksheet. If a modification is warranted, a proposed agreement will be prepared and you and the other party may sign that agreement. After review by a deputy prosecuting attorney in our office the agreement to modify the support order may be submitted to the court for approval. No modification takes place until the Court has approved and signed the agreement.

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My divorce decree orders the non-custodial parent to pay child support directly to me and not through the Clerk’s Office. Can that be modified?
Indiana Law I.C. 31-16-9-1 requires that all support payments be made through the Clerk’s Office or INSCCU. If your divorce decree provides for direct payment of child support to the other party, that provision will have to be changed to comply with the law. In addition, a provision that requires income withholding must be a part of the order.

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If either parent loses a job or earns more income, will the court order automatically change?
No. The Court order does not change unless a Petition to Modify Child Support or an agreement between the parties has been filed with the Court and the Court has entered a new order for child support.

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If a child moves out of the custodial parent’s house or becomes emancipated and there are other children remaining in the custodial parent’s household, does the amount of support automatically change?
No. Most child support orders for multiple children are considered “in gross” orders. In other words, the child support is a total amount to be paid that does not change when the number of children changes. Only after a Petition to Modify Support or a Modification Agreement signed by the parties has been filed and the Court has entered a new child support order, can the amount of support change in such circumstances.

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If I am the Noncustodial Parent, can I file a Petition for Modification without a lawyer? Where can I find forms that I can use to file a modification?
Yes. The Indiana Supreme Court has provided forms for the use of non-represented parties in child support situations. You may obtain the proper forms from the Self Serve Legal Center on the Indiana Judicial Website along with instructions for their use.

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Section 7: General Information

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I am the non-custodial parent and an attorney represents me. Can a child support officer speak with me regarding my case?
You can provide the Child Support Office with any information pertaining to a change of employment or address. It is recommended that you contact your present attorney for custody and parenting time issues. Further, you may also have your attorney contact a deputy prosecutor in our office regarding your child support case. If you have an attorney, our office is prohibited from discussing the particulars of the case with you directly without written authorization from your attorney.

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How can I obtain a copy of my court order?
Please contact the clerk’s office in the courthouse where your child support order was established to obtain a copy of your child support court order.

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I have an issue with custody/parenting time. Can you help?
In accordance with federal law, the Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office Child Support Program is not involved in custody and parenting time issues.

If you were granted custody of the child(ren) involved in your case through the court and have a court order terminating the support order, please bring or send the court order to your caseworker. If the child(ren) is/are living with you but the court has not granted you custody of the child, your child support order remains active until a court grants you the legal custody of the child(ren) and terminates your child support order. You should bring the change of circumstances to the attention of the Child Support Program as soon as possible.

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I disagree with the amount of child support I am being told I owe. What should I do?
If you are disputing the arrears owed on your case, please provide details to your caseworker on why you believe your arrears are incorrect. Failure to provide information may result in the resolution of your dispute being delayed. Please note, however, that if the Court has already made an arrearage finding in your case you must challenge that order in the Court that issued it. Such a challenge can be a complicated legal process, and you should consider seeking the advice of an attorney to assist you.

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If I move, how do I change my address and other contact information?
You should contact the child support division of the Monroe County Clerk’s Office and provide them with your change of address information. You may also contact our office to change your address or employer. However, our office is not authorized to change certain addresses in the child support computer system, so you may be referred back to the Clerk’s office to accomplish that change.

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The Noncustodial Parent in my case lives out of state. Can I still enforce child support through the Monroe County Office?
Yes. Through the provisions of the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA), paternity and child support can be established and enforced across state lines.

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If neither I nor the other party in my case now live in Monroe County, and we want to transfer our case to another location within Indiana, can we do that?
If you and the other party have moved away from Monroe County and are both in agreement that your child support case should be changed, you should contact your Monroe County caseworker and request that your case be transferred. The appropriate agreement and documents will have to be signed and approved by the Court.

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Does the Child Support Program represent the custodial parent?
Services of the Child Support Program are limited to matters involving Child Support only. The State of Indiana becomes a party to the divorce, paternity or support action and acts on behalf of the best interests of the child. The State is represented by a deputy prosecutor who handles child support cases. This deputy prosecutor does not represent either parent in an action and does not act as an attorney for any party other than the State. Needless to say, the goals of the State in establishing paternity and support and enforcing support orders are usually consistent with and coincide very closely with the goals of the majority of custodial parents. However, if either parent wishes to have legal representation, present evidence, or make recommendations to the Court, that parent will need to consult their own private attorney.

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Does the Child Support Program get involved in divorce issues other than support – such as custody, visitation, name change or the division of property?

Since the Child Support Program is designed and implemented for the creation and enforcement of child support under the law, under no circumstance can it become involved in matters of custody, visitation, name change, property division or any other issues not related to child support. If a parent has questions, needs legal advice, or wishes to take action in such areas, the parent will need to consult with their own attorney. If such matters arise in a court hearing, the child support deputy will be required to withdraw from participation in that portion of the hearing and will be limited to involvement in support issues only.

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Section 8: Tax Refund Offset Information


How Cases are Submitted for the Income Tax Refund Offset Program

  • State: in order to be submitted for the state income tax refund offset program, the amount of the child support delinquency must exceed $150.00.
  • Federal: in order to be submitted for the federal income tax refund offset program, the amount of the child support delinquency must exceed $150.00 in a TANF case and $500.00 in a non-TANF case.
  • Income tax refund offset submissions are automatic through our state-wide computer system.
  • The federal income tax offset program covers arrears only cases as well as cases with an ongoing child support order. The same $150.00 and $500.00 thresholds are applicable to arrears only cases.

How Offsets are Processed

  • If the custodial parent receives TANF, both the federal and state refund will be sent to the State for reimbursement of TANF funds expended.
  • If the custodial parent is a former TANF recipient and there are arrears owed to the State, the State will keep the federal refund for reimbursement, but the state refund will be paid through the normal distribution scheme, i.e., current support first, then custodial parent arrearages, followed by state arrearages.
  • Distribution of the tax refund will be applied to all of the non-custodial parent’s cases based on the amount of arrears owed in each case.

Timeframes Associated with Tax Refunds

  • State: tax refunds are applied to current support weekly. If the amount of the state offset received is more than the current support due, the remaining state tax refund would be applied to the arrears. The arrears portion will be held for 29 days, then distributed on the 30th day.
  • Federal: single and joint returns are held for 29 days, then distributed on the 30th day.

Fees Associated with the Tax Refund Offset

  • State: there is no administrative fee associated with the state tax offsets.
  • Federal: there is an administrative fee imposed by the Federal Internal Revenue Service on all federal offsets. The fee will be deducted prior to sending the federal offset to the custodial parent.
  • The obligor is given credit for the full amount of the federal tax offset despite the fee that is withheld.

How to Dispute the Tax Offset Submission

  • State: to dispute a state offset submission you must request an administrative hearing contesting the interception of your state tax refund. You must mail your written request for an administrative hearing within 30 days from the date on your State Offset Notice. You must include a copy of the State Offset Notice with your request for review. The request should be mailed to the Indiana Centralized Enforcement Unit, 402 W. Washington St., MS 11, Indianapolis, IN 46204-2739.
  • Federal: to dispute a federal offset submission, you must write to the local child support office that certified you for the income tax refund offset program. You must include a written request for a review, along with the Federal Offset Notice you received and the documentation showing that the child support delinquency that was submitted was incorrect. Examples of such documentation are court orders, payment printout, etc. Your caseworker will conduct a review within 30 days of your request. You will be notified by mail of the result of the review.

How to File an Injured Spouse Claim and Allocation

  • Based on the filing of a joint return, if the spouse of a non-custodial parent has his/her refund seized to be applied to the non-custodial parent’s past due child support obligation, the spouse may qualify as an injured spouse. The spouse must complete Part I of IRS Form 8379 to determine whether he/she qualifies.
  • State: there is no Injured Spouse Claim and Allocation form for state tax offsets. Instead, the spouse may request the return of his/her share of the refund. The request must be made within 30 days from the date on the State Offset Notice and must include the names, address, and Social Security numbers of both parties as they appear on the tax form. The spouse must also sign the request. The request should be mailed to the Indiana Centralized Enforcement Unit, 402 W. Washington St., MS 11, Indianapolis, IN 46204-2739. DO NOT include this request with a request for an appeal hearing. All appeal requests must be made separately from any spousal request.
  • Federal: to file an injured spouse claim for a federal tax offset, the spouse must file IRS Form 8379- Injured Spouse Claim and Allocation. The completed form must be mailed directly to the Internal Revenue Service. These forms are available at http://www.irs.gov, by calling the IRS at 1-800-829-3676, or may be obtained from your local public library, U.S. Post Office, or a tax preparer’s office.