The Nicholson Nugget, issue 1

The Nicholson Nugget

October 14, 2019, issue 1

This is the inaugural  issue of The Nicholson Nugget: the official newsletter of the Law Office of Mark Nicholson.

October has been a busy month for the Law Office of Mark Nicholson.  We were on the TV news discussing the new policy of the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office to not charge people with simple marijuana possession. We had a TV news interview describing how an H&M male employee secretly videotaped our female client in the nude. In the midst of all that, we are preparing for a criminal jury trial next week.

 


Mark Nicholson, AttorneyMark’s biography page can be read here.  Mark will be on FM radio station 90.1 at 1pm on Monday, October 14, 2019.  He will discuss, with an all-star panel, the new Marion County marijuana policy. Tune in here.
Kathryn Hines, ParalegalKatie is the Certified Paralegal for the Law Office of Mark Nicholson.  Katie’s biography page can be read here.
Cierra Fountain, Intern, Fall 2019

Cierra graduated from Ivy Tech Community College in August 2019 with a degree in Legal Studies. Her hard work earned her a spot on the Dean’s List each semester.  While attending classes, Cierra completed an internship with the school’s Government Relations department where she conducted research for education legislation, assisted meetings with the Department of Education (DOE), and performed analysis on impacts of policy changes.

After graduating from Ivy Tech, Cierra decided to continue her education at IUPUI. She is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Global and International Studies with a minor in Spanish. She hopes to attend law school and practice immigration and international law.

Cierra volunteers with Indy Reads and helps Spanish speakers learn English. In her free time, she enjoys dancing and watching comedy and action movies with friends and family.  Additionally, she loves spending time with her one-year old Pitbull, Shadow.

Nugget of the Month
“Pain is weakness leaving the body,” quote by United States Marine Corps.

 

David Orlich, Intern, Fall 2019

What is a modification of child support?
A child support modification in Indiana is classified as an order modifying or adjusting an existing order for support which may or may not also include an order to provide healthcare to dependent children. The original order for support is governed by IC 31-16-6-1. This Indiana Code lists out the several factors the courts may or may not consider when making an original determination for child support. Some of these factors include the income of the parents, the standard of living the child may have enjoyed had the separation not occurred, the employment or unemployment of the parents, the causes of unemployment should a parent be unemployed and incarceration of a parent. As of July 1st of 2019, an order for modification of child support is governed by IC 31-16-8-1.

Reasons for a modification.
To receive a child support modification under Indiana law one must show a “change in circumstances so substantial and continuing as to make the terms unreasonable”. Or, if the current support order differs from the Child Support Guideline amount by 20% or more. This means there needs to be more than a slight change in circumstances from the time the original order was issued. There are still several good reasons a person may need a modification of a current child support order. The most obvious reason one may need a modification, and a reason recognized by the Indiana legislature, is a change in income. However, the law does encourage the judiciary to consider the reasons for a parent’s unemployment and distinguish a parent who is willfully unemployed from one who is unemployed out of necessity or without choice. The Legislature specifically notes that incarceration should not be considered “willful unemployment”. IC 31-16-6-1 (f).
Another reason one might need a modification of child support for is a change of expenses. The Indiana Court of Appeals ordered in increase in child support to reflect the non-custodial parent’s portion of college expenses for the child. Walters v. Walters, 901 N.E.2d 508 (In. Ct. App. 2009). While the court did order the modification, it is important to note that they also ordered the custodial parent who requested the modification to pay for a portion of the non-custodial parent’s attorney’s fees in that case.
The most obvious reason a person may request a modification of child support is that there has been a change in custody. If the father is paying child support to the mother but then gains custody of the child for whatever reason, the father would be in a position to request a modification in child support now that they are the main caregiver and provider for the child.

Conclusion
While obtaining an order for a modification of child support may not be always be easy in Indiana, it is possible in several scenarios.  However, in most circumstances, in Indiana any request for modification must be made no less than 12 months since the most recent order for support, unless the current support order differs from the Child Support Guideline amount by 20%.

Author: David Orlich, Intern

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