A child support order can be made by the court during a divorce, during the separation of unmarried parents, or during a paternity case. These support orders ensure that both parents fulfill their legal obligation to support their child. Typically, a parent who is not the primary custodian or a parent who makes more money will make monthly payments to the other parent. When circumstances change, parents may need to work with an Indianapolis child support modification attorney.

The Indiana family courts know that life circumstances change and that the court orders made during a case may need to be altered throughout a family’s life. Child custody, spousal support, and child support are all potentially modifiable as long as certain requirements are met. It’s important for parents to understand these requirements and when they can request a modification to increase or decrease support payments.

Can Parents Modify Child Support Without Going to Court?

When parents agree on a modification to a child support order, they must still have the agreement approved by the court. This is still a faster method to modify the agreement, and it may not even require a hearing. If parents can negotiate a fair agreement, the court will approve the modifications as long as those changes are in the child’s interests.

If parents can’t agree on a modification to child support, then the parent who wants to change the amount must petition the court for a modification hearing. For the court to allow a petition and even hear the request, certain circumstances must be met.

When Can Child Support Orders Be Modified in Indiana?

There are two justifications for petitioning for a modification of child support in Indiana. Those are:

  1. There is a continued and substantial change of circumstances, which makes the current order unreasonable or not in the child’s interests.
  2. The current child support order was last created or modified at least 12 months ago, and the proposed change to the order would alter the amount of support by at least 20% under the state support guidelines.

The state support guidelines are important, even if the parents deviated from these guidelines in their initial support determination. The state child support formula uses the income of each parent, the expected costs of raising a child, the parenting time that each parent has with their child, and other information.

Either parent can request a modification of child support orders if one of those circumstances exists. Families receiving Temporary Aid for Needy Families have their child support payments reviewed every three years, which may result in a modification petition being filed.

What Is a Substantial Change in Circumstances?

What exactly is considered a substantial and continued change in circumstances may be up to the discretion of the judge, but it typically involves some of the following changes:

  • A modification to custody and parenting time
  • The incarceration of a parent
  • Either parent having an increase or decrease in income
  • Either parent losing their job
  • Either parent losing or gaining significant financial resources
  • The changing costs of raising a child and the changing needs of a child as they grow
  • The increased financial needs of a child
  • The emancipation of a child

Typically, for a change in circumstances to be continued, it must be expected to be permanent or last for several months, depending on the court’s discretion. A child support modification attorney can help you determine if your family’s change in circumstances would likely qualify as a substantial and continued change in circumstances under the state’s rule.


Q: How Do You Modify Child Support in Indiana?

A: Parents are allowed to petition to modify child support in Indiana if one of the following is true:

  1. There is a substantial and continuing change in circumstances in the family’s life.
  2. The current child support order is at least 12 months old, and the requested amount of support modification would change the order by at least 20%.

A change in circumstances may include an additional financial obligation of either parent, additional financial needs of the child, or an increase or decrease in either parent’s income.

Q: What Is the New Child Support Law in Indiana?

A: A new child support law went into effect on January 1, 2024, impacting specific support guidelines. It includes some of the following changes:

  1. Requiring parents to provide material explanation for why they have agreed to an amount of child support that deviates from the state worksheet obligation amount
  2. Modifying calculations for parenting time credits when parents have a different number of overnights with different children
  3. Considering uninsured medical expenses as an add-on expense, which is split proportionally to parental income
  4. Determining weekly support amounts based on the current costs of raising a child

Q: What Is the Statute for Modification of Parenting Time in Indiana?

A: The statute for modifying parenting time in Indiana is Indiana Code 31-17-4-2, which states that the family court can modify a court order for parenting time rights if it serves the interests of the child.

The court can only restrict a parent’s rights to parenting time if the court determines that a child would be in danger or developmentally emotionally impaired by allowing that parenting time. This is different from the child custody modification requirements, which necessitate both considerations for the interests of the child and a substantial change in circumstances.

Q: At What Age Does Child Support Stop in Indiana?

A: Child support in Indiana stops when a child turns 19 and is emancipated by law unless the child is incapacitated before that time. Child support may end prior to the child turning 19 if the child is emancipated for one of the following:

  • The child gets married.
  • The child joins the military on active duty.
  • The child is not under the care or control of their parents or another approved legal guardian.

In certain circumstances, child support can also be terminated even if the child is not emancipated.

Child Support Changes That Can Meet Your Family’s Current Needs

Parents each must financially provide for their child, and this support helps both parents and their children live more secure lives. However, if child support payments are insufficient to provide for a child’s needs, or they are placing a paying parent in hardship, this likely means that a modification is necessary. Contact the team at Stange Law Firm in Indianapolis today to see how we can provide you with essential legal support.