Is There Ever an Age Where a Child Decides Which Parent They Will Live With?
Kentucky law says that the child’s wishes should always be considered, which doesn’t differentiate between a child who’s five versus a teenager who’s fifteen. Family court judges will listen to the child, no matter the age. Some teenagers may want something different than what’s best for them just because they don’t want to do homework or a chore. Like Kentucky, most states do not have a magic age.
One of the differences between Indiana and Kentucky is that Indiana gives more deference to a child’s wishes once they reach the age of 14. If we have an Indiana custody case or a divorce case that involves kids, it’s common for a judge to not try to micromanage the life of a child who’s already in high school.
What Are the Differences Between Child Support Obligations in Kentucky and Indiana?
One major difference is that child support generally just goes until the age of 18 in Kentucky. The issue of college is not discussed, unless the parties agree to do so. In Indiana, however, child support goes until the age of 19 and college is generally discussed. If needed, a judge can decide the issue of college. Indiana only recently dropped the age for when their child support ends from 21 to 19, though parties can still request to have support continue longer. That means you could deal with a child support situation for three or four more years in Indiana than you would in Kentucky.
A second major difference is the calculators the states use, one of which is very outdated. In Kentucky, we have to help our clients do a customized calculation because the state has unfortunately not updated their child support guidelines in a while. Kentucky has an equal presumption of parenting time, but the child support guidelines still presume there’s one parent who doesn’t see the child as much. Parents who go online and try to run their own calculations may not be looking at their schedule the same way a judge would. Hopefully, Kentucky will update their calculation to be more client-friendly so that parents don’t always have to refer to a professional for help.
Indiana, in contrast, has done a good job of keeping their guidelines up-to-date. They have a very data-robust calculator, which includes something that Kentucky’s does not: how many overnights each parent gets with the child. It makes sense that, if you have two parents who each have three or four nights a week, there wouldn’t be as much child support switching hands because each parent is using their income to help support the kids when they’re at their respective homes. If one parent doesn’t see the child as much, however, then you would enter zero overnights into the calculator, and the child support number will be higher to reflect the fact that one parent isn’t paying to feed or clothe the child. The calculator adjusts to say that parent needs to pay more to help the other parent support that child if they’re not going to be spending any quality time with the child.
Our goal in both states is to help people stay out of court and aim for a more customized solution. We have access to the same software that our judges use, which isn’t available to the general public. Parties who are fighting over these issues can come in to meet with us, and we provide some objectivity to help them get their case settled instead of thinking they have to go and fight in court.
Additional Information on Child Support in Kentucky and Indiana
Many couples argue about who is going to claim the child for tax purposes. Some states, Kentucky included, follow the IRS rule, which says that if a child primarily lives with one parent, that parent gets to claim the child every year. In Indiana, state law says that as long as both parents are supporting the child, they’ll alternate claiming them for tax purposes.
We often see couples wanting to include this in their agreements or court orders to prepare for when tax season rolls around, though it does vary depending on which state they’re getting divorced in. Overall, it’s a common issue related to child support.
For more information on Child’s Decision on Where They Want to Live, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (812) 302-0539 today.
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