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Fathers and Families

Indiana Lowers Cutoff Age for Child Support, New York Child Support, Haiti Joins Responsible Fatherhood Movement
April 18, 2012
Top Story
Indiana Lowers Cutoff Age for Children Receiving Child SupportBrent Steele
Indiana’s new state law lowers the cutoff age for children receiving child support from 21 to 19. It exempts support for education expenses and provides an exemption for a child who is incapacitated. Sen. Brent Steele, R-Bedford, said the law takes effect July 1 and applies to all child support orders.

Warrick County Superior Court Judge Robert Aylsworth said Enrolled Act, Senate Bill 18 shift of the emancipation age to two years earlier is "an enormous change" that's going to result in a surge of petitions seeking to modify support orders. “I think we are going to see a run on the courthouses.”

Steele said only two states and the District of Columbia currently extend child support obligations to age 21.The change brings Indiana in line with the vast majority of states.

Steele, who is a practicing attorney, at Steele & Steele, LLC, said it was his interpretation of the law and his intention that it be retroactive. "It's my opinion that it applies to everyone," he said.

Steele said the legislative summer study committee in 2011 actually recommended the change. It chose age 19 because, Steele said, about 1 percent of Indiana high school students are still in school at that age and that would protect them from losing support before graduation.

Steele said that in his position as chairman of the Corrections, Criminal and Civil Law Committee in the Senate he was long a supporter of keeping the current emancipation age. “For many years I've actually killed it when it came to committee,” he said. “I thought that you owed an obligation until 21.”

One of the biggest reasons for the change was the impact of Indiana’s low collection rate for delinquent child support in cases of children 18 and over. It lowers the overall success rate that is used to determine federal support for the offices. Steele said he heard testimony about how many fathers stop paying after age 18 despite the law. “A lot of the mothers don't come to the prosecutors to collect it even though they probably could,” he said.

Steele said the law was worded to exempt post secondary education support. Children receiving child support under orders that went into effect before the July 1 date can still file petitions for their educational needs until 21.

Consumer Price Index Effects New York Child Support
Brent Steele Every two years, in New York, the income cap increases based upon the changes in the consumer price index for all urban consumers. Effective January 31, 2012 the combined parental income amount increases to $136,000 from $130,000.

Check your child support agreements. It is likely this affects your children’s child support.

Haiti Joins Responsible Fatherhood Movement
Haiti Kids In Haiti, 47% of single parent families are headed by women. Often these women have, on average, six children with two or three different fathers. Over 80% of unions in Haiti are common-law or plasaj.

In an attempt to encourage fathers to take responsibility, the Haitian Senate unanimously passed the Responsible Fatherhood Act. The bill was presented by now deceased deputy Gerandale Thelusman and initiated by then Minister for Women, Marie Jocelyn Lasseque, in 2010.

It provides for action to be taken against the responsible father for him to support his family. Implementing it will have its challenges. The mother must start the legal process against the father. The courts must locate the father and conduct a paternity test. If paternity is proven the father will be ordered to pay child support.

With this Responsible Fatherhood Act, Haiti joins the United States and other developed countries in valuing fathers strictly for their financial contributions.
In the News
Adoption without Consent of Fathers Proposed in Missouri

Maine ADA Railroads Father with Child Abuse Conviction

Author Uses False Claim of Domestic Violence to Get Out of Jury Duty

Court Originally Ruled Father and Three Children Cannot Live on $90,000

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Fathers and Families improves the lives of children and strengthens society by protecting the child’s right to the love and care of both parents after separation or divorce. We seek better lives for children through family court reform that establishes equal rights and responsibilities for fathers and mothers.

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