Reform Child Support and Divorce

Reform Child Support and Divorce

With half of all marriages ending in divorce, this is something that affects a lot of individuals.

This affected me, and I want to change this so it doesn’t affect others.

Parenting Time

The Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines section 2 identifies recommended times the non custodial parent should have with their child. These times are typically biased to a 70/30 split (every other weekend, and 1 night per week).

Indiana family attorneys I have spoken with have said it’s very difficult for men to deviate from the 70/30 split if the other parent is contentious. Indiana courts hold onto an antiquated belief that the mother is the best custodian of the children, despite repeated evidence that fathers are critical in the mental development of their children too.

Without a lawyer, and with contestation, your hope of getting an even 50/50 split of parenting time is very dim. Just because a lawyer is unaffordable does not mean you deserve less time with your children.

Child Support (hidden alimony)

I don’t disagree with child support – sadly there are parents who do not want to spend time with their children, and leave the responsibility of raising and caring for the child primarily with one parent. In those cases, child support is warranted.

You, however, have battled your way through the courts, paid exorbitant legal fees, and have managed to secure a 50/50 custody situation. Congratulations. Indiana’s court rule:

There is no such thing as joint custody. Someone is paying the other. The greater the difference in income, the greater the child support.

Sorry, but this is absurd. The whole point of joint custody is to provide the child with equal access to the parents, in a cooperative environment. But making one parent obligated to pay the other parent sets up a hostile attitude where one parent feels taken advantage of, and the other feels entitled to money they didn’t earn. Yes, support is necessary when there is a large split in time (70/30), but not when all things are equal (50/50).

This puts a permanent wedge between the parents for cooperation, and negatively affects the child.

“No, you pay for his field trip!”

How do we fix this?

A Pennsylvania bill is a good roadmap to fix this. It aims to change the default consideration of the court to a 50/50 split, and if the judge feels 50/50 is not good for the child then the judge must justify the decision in writing and file it with the court.

We also need to change the definition of “joint custody” to eliminate alimony. Cooperative coparenting is better for the children, and cooperation happens more readily when both parties are standing on equal ground.