By: Nicole Makris, Attorney

On July 1, 2019, new legislation went into effect in Indiana that anyone with a child custody order should be aware of. Primarily, a notable change was made to Indiana Code § 31-16-6-6. Under this statute, a child is emancipated when they reach the age of nineteen, which terminates the non-custodial parent’s child support obligation. Now, the law provides for an exception if a child is a full-time student in a secondary school when they turn nineteen years old. Under these circumstances, the parent or guardian has the opportunity to request that the child support obligation continue until and terminate upon the child’s high school graduation.

In order to ensure that child support continues until the child graduates from high school, it is the parent or guardian’s responsibility to file a notice with the court within the time frame of — after the child’s seventeenth birthday and before the child’s nineteenth birthday. The notice must include proof of the child’s enrollment in high school and his or her expected date of graduation. The parent who is paying child support has the opportunity to file an objection or request for a hearing within thirty days of service of the notice.

Relocation Statute Changes

The relocation statute also underwent changes that took effect on July 1, 2019. These changes to Indiana Code § 31-17-2.2-1 affect anyone with a child custody order or parenting time pursuant to a parenting time affidavit. A parent who is relocating now has thirty days before the date that they intend to move or less than fourteen days after they become aware that they will be moving to file their notice of relocation with the court, whichever is sooner. The non-relocating parent then has twenty days from service of the notice to file their response stating their position on the relocation.

In addition to the change in filing deadlines, the updates to the statute allow for informal notice of relocation in some circumstances rather than a formal filing with the court. The relocating parent does not need to file a notice with the court if the move was already addressed in a court order or if the parent is moving closer to the non-relocating parent. The moving parent also does not need to file a formal notice if the new residence is not more than twenty miles away from the non-relocating parent’s residence and the move will not result in a change in the child’s school. Even if a formal notice is not required, the parent who is moving still needs to provide their home address, all telephone numbers, and e-mail addresses in writing (text message or e-mail is acceptable) to any individual who has or is seeking custody, parenting time, or grandparent visitation with the child.

If the parent is required to file a notice of intent to relocate, the notice must include specific information, including the parent’s new residential/mailing address, phone numbers, expected moving date, and a brief summary of the reason for the move, as previously required. The notice must also state whether the parent who is moving believes that the current parenting time or grandparent visitation order should be modified, and that the parent who is not relocating needs to file his or her response within twenty days of receiving the notice. The parent who is not moving may file a request to prevent the temporary or permanent relocation of the child and/or a petition to modify an order regarding custody, parenting time, grandparent visitation, or child support. If the relocation occurs, all current orders for custody, parenting time, grandparent visitation, and child support remain in place until the court modifies them.

Consult with an experienced family law attorney regarding the specific facts of your case.