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Indiana Department of Child Services

DCS  > Child Support > FAQs > Non Custodial Parent (NCP) FAQs Non Custodial Parent (NCP) FAQs

General
How do I get my child support order modified (increased or decreased)?
Can the prosecutor's Title IV-D office help me with child custody or parenting time (visitation) issues?
Do I have to still pay child support if I'm not being allowed to have parenting time with my child?
My new employer hasn't started taking my child support out of my wages yet.  Can I wait to pay until the income withholding starts?
Why can't I pay support directly to the custodial party?
How long is child support paid?Why was my lump sum or company bonus intercepted?
How does bankruptcy affect a child support obligation?

Federal Income Tax Refund Offset

What is a Federal Income Tax Refund Offset?
What cases are eligible for submission to the Federal Income Tax Refund Offset Program?
How am I notified if my case has been submitted for Federal Income Tax Refund Offset?
How am I notified that my Federal Income Tax Refund has been offset for child support arrears?
What if I do not agree with the arrearage amount and/or the Federal Offset amount?
What happens if I filed a joint federal return with my current spouse?
When will my offset Federal Income Tax Refund be sent to the custodial party?
Will all of the offset Federal Income Tax Refund be sent to the custodial party?
When will the Child Support Bureau receive my Federal Income Tax Refund?

State Income Tax Refund Offset

What is a State Income Tax Refund Offset?
What cases are eligible for submission to the State Income Tax Refund Offset Program?
How am I notified that my State Income Tax Refund has been offset (intercepted) for child support arrears?
What if I do not agree with the arrearage amount or the State Income Tax Refund offset?
What happens if I filed a joint State Income Tax return with my current spouse?
When will the Child Support Bureau receive my State Income Tax refund?
Why hasn't my offset State Income Tax refund been sent to the custodial party?
Why are both my State and Federal Income Tax refunds being offset (intercepted)?

General

How do I get my child support order modified (increased or decreased)?
Indiana law allows for a party to a child support order to petition the court to modify the amount of child support when:

  • A substantial and continuing change of circumstance exists; or
  • The previous order is at least 12 months old and the amount of support that would be calculated under the Child Support Guidelines differs from the current court order by at least 20%.

Orders may be considered for modification at the request of either parent.  The county prosecutor's Title IV-D office is required to review child support orders of families receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) every 3 years.  Based on the review, the county prosecutor's Title IV-D office may file a petition to modify with the court.

Can the prosecutor's Title IV-D office help me with child custody or parenting time (visitation) issues?
No.  Civil matters such as divorce petition, custody, or parenting time cannot be addressed through the Title IV-D child support program.  You may wish to seek legal advice in these matters.

Do I have to still pay child support if I'm not being allowed to have parenting time with my child?
Yes.  There is no legal correlation between the payment of child support and exercising parenting time rights with the child(ren).

My new employer hasn't started taking my child support out of my wages yet.  Can I wait to pay until the income withholding starts?
No.  It is your responsibility to pay the child support until the income withholding begins.  For more information, please click here.

Why can't I pay support directly to the custodial party?
If the court ordered you to pay through the office of the county clerk or through Indiana State Central Collection Unit (INSCCU), you must do so.  This ensures there is a legal record of monies paid that the court can recognize as child support.

How long is child support paid?
When a child turns 19 years old, the child is emancipated by operation of law, and the non-custodial parent's obligation to pay current child support terminates.  An exception is if the child is incapacitated.  In this case, the child support continues during the incapacity or until further order of the court.  A court order for the child support to extend beyond 19 years old is required.

The court shall emancipate a child prior to the age of 19 if the court finds that the child:

  • Marries; or
  • Goes on active duty status with the U.S. Military; or
  • The child is not under the care or control of either parent or an individual or agency approved by the court.

The court may terminate a non-custodial parent's support obligation, with or without emancipating the child, if the court finds that all of the following circumstances exist:

  • The child is at least 18 years old; and
  • The child has not attended a secondary school or postsecondary educational institution for the prior four months; and
  • Is not enrolled in a secondary school or post secondary educational institution; and
  • The child is, or is capable of, supporting himself or herself through employment.

In order for a court to terminate a child support order prior to 19 years old, a petition must be filed with the court.  If a non-custodial parent owes any arrearage at the point when the order for current child support terminates, he or she is still required to pay the arrearage.

If 2 or more children are covered by a child support order and one child is emancipated, the amount of the child support order is NOT automatically reduced.  The parties must seek a modification of the court order to determine the new amount of support for the remaining child(ren).

Why was my lump sum or company bonus intercepted?
Indiana statute provides that if you receive severance pay, sick pay, vacation pay, commissions, bonus or any other lump sum, funds must be withheld from the lump sum amount if the employee has an existing child support arrearage.  For more information, reference IC-31-16-15-19.

How does bankruptcy affect a child support obligation?
Child support is not dischargeable through a bankruptcy proceeding.  For additional information on how bankruptcy affects child support obligations, consult your bankruptcy attorney.
 

Federal Income Tax Refund Offset 

What is a Federal Income Tax Refund Offset?
Tax refunds that would otherwise be paid to a non-custodial parent who owes child support arrearage, are offset (intercepted) by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and applied to the child support debt.  Cases that receive a federal offset collection are subject to a $14.65 fee per offset.  The non-custodial parent receives credit for the full collection.

What cases are eligible for submission to the Federal Income Tax Refund Offset Program?
Only cases receiving services through the Title IV-D Child Support Program are eligible for Federal Income Tax Refund Offset.  Cases eligible for Federal Tax Refund Offset have a delinquent child support amount.  If the child support order includes an award for spousal support, the Federal Income Tax Refund offset may also be used to cover the past due spousal support obligation.  There are 2 different thresholds for cases submitted for Federal Income Tax Refund Offset. 

  • If the family has received Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits, and has an arrearage of at least $150.00, or  
  • If the family has not received TANF and has an arrearage of $500.00. 

How am I notified if my case has been submitted for Federal Income Tax Refund Offset?
When the case meets the qualifications for Federal Income Tax Offset, a pre-offset notice is issued to the non-custodial parent to inform that the case has qualified.  Pre-offset notices are issued through-out the year as cases become eligible for the program.  These notices are issued to the last known address for the non-custodial parent.  As long as there is an arrearage balance, the non-custodial parent will receive only ONE pre-offset notice for a case even though they may be submitted for offset in multiple years.  The case will not be deleted from the Federal Income Tax Refund Offset program until the arrearage balance is zero.

How am I notified that my Federal Income Tax Refund has been offset for child support arrears?
The U.S. Department of Treasury’s Financial Management Service sends a written offset notice to the non-custodial parent informing them of the offset amount, the payment type that was offset, and the date the offset occurred.

What if I do not agree with the arrearage amount and/or the Federal Offset amount?
A non-custodial parent can contest the determination of the amount of the past-due support owed and may request an administrative review. To request an administrative review, the non-custodial parent must contact the County Prosecutor’s Title IV-D office where the case is located. The contact information is provided on both the Pre-Offset Notice and the Offset Notice.

If the non-custodial parent has cases in multiple Indiana counties, the pre-offset notice and the offset notice will show only the county based on alphabetical order of the county name.  The notices will not list all counties where a non-custodial parent may have cases with arrearages.

What happens if I filed a joint federal return with my current spouse?
If certain conditions are met, the non-custodial parent's current spouse may be eligible to receive a portion of the refund by completing IRS form 8379-Injured Spouse Claim and Allocation.  The form has eligibility criteria and filing instructions on the first page.  This form is to be mailed directly to the IRS office.  Do not submit an injured spouse claim to the Indiana Child Support Bureau or the county prosecutor's Title IV-D office.  Form 8379-Injured Spouse Claim and Allocation can be obtained from any location which provides Federal Income Tax forms, such as a local library, U.S. Postal Service or a tax preparer's office, or you can down load the form at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8379.pdf.  The IRS is responsible for making the decision regarding an injured spouse claim.

When will my offset Federal Income Tax Refund be sent to the custodial party?
It depends upon how the federal tax return was filed:

  • An individual Federal Income Tax refund will be held for 30 days before disbursing to the custodial party.
  • A joint Federal Income Tax refund may be held for a period of up to 6 months to allow the non-custodial parent's current spouse to file a claim as an injured spouse and ask the IRS to consider his or her income separately (see above).  The refund will disburse to the custodial party after the 6 month holding period.

Will all of the offset Federal Income Tax Refund be sent to the custodial party?
Not necessarily.  If funds are owed as repayment of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits, federal law is clear that Federal Income Tax Refund offsets must first be applied to the repayment of TANF assistance.

When will the Child Support Bureau receive my Federal Income Tax Refund?
Federal Income Tax Refund Offsets are received 4 to 6 weeks after the date that is listed on the offset notice that is generated by the U.S. Department of Treasury's Financial Management Services.

 

State Income Tax Refund Offset

What is a State Income Tax Refund Offset?
State income tax refunds that would otherwise be paid to a non-custodial parent who owes child support arrearage are offset (intercepted) by the Indiana Department of Revenue and applied to the child support debt. 

What cases are eligible for submission to the State Income Tax Refund Offset Program?
Only cases receiving services through the Title IV-D Child Support Program are eligible for State Income Tax Refund Offset.  Cases eligible for State Tax Refund Offset have a delinquent child support amount of $150.00 or more.  If the non-custodial parent has more than one case, the total is a combination of arrearages for all cases.

How am I notified that my State Income Tax Refund has been offset (intercepted) for child support arrears?
The Indiana State Child Support Bureau sends an offset notice to the non-custodial parent at the address provided on the state tax return.  The notice shows the amount of the refund, the date the offset occurred, and it identifies the county prosecutor's Title IV-D office responsible for the submission.

If the non-custodial parent has more than one Title IV-D case, the total delinquency is a combination of arrearages owed on all Title IV-D cases.  If the non-custodial parent has cases in multiple Indiana counties, the pre-offset notice and the offset notice will only show the county based on alphabetical order of the county name.  The notices will not list all counties where a non-custodial parent may have cases with arrearages.

What if I do not agree with the arrearage amount or the State Income Tax Refund offset?
The offset notice contains information about how to request an Administrative Hearing to contest the interception of the State Income Tax Refund.  The request for an Administrative Hearing must be received by the Indiana Centralized Enforcement Unit within 30 days from the date on the notice.  A copy of the notice must be sent with the signed written request for the hearing.

What happens if I filed a joint State Income Tax return with my current spouse?
The non-custodial parent's current spouse may be eligible to receive a portion of the refund by sending a written request to:

Indiana Centralized Enforcement Unit
402 W Washington ST,  MS 11,
Indianapolis, IN  46204

Include a copy of the State Income Tax Offset notice that was sent to the non-custodial parent, and the Non-custodial parent's name, social security number, the current spouse's name and social security number, phone number, and current address.  The request should be signed by the current spouse.  The Indiana Department of Revenue is responsible for making the decision about the current spouse's portion.

When will the Child Support Bureau receive my State Income Tax refund?
State Income Tax intercepts are held by the Indiana Department of Revenue for 60-75 days from the date on the notice that is sent by the Indiana State Child Support Bureau.

Why hasn't my offset State Income Tax refund been sent to the custodial party?
Once the State Income Tax Refund is received from the Indiana Department of Revenue, it will first be applied towards the current child support obligation.  If no current child support is owed for the month, the State Income Tax Refund will be applied towards the delinquent child support obligation and held for 29 days before disbursing to the custodial party.  In addition, a State Income Tax Refund may not be disbursed to the custodial party if:

  • The arrearages are owed for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • The arrearages are owed for a blood test obligation.

Why are both my State and Federal Income Tax refunds being offset (intercepted)?
Both the IRS and the Indiana Department of Revenue is notified when the arrears balance on a case meets the criteria for Income Tax Refund Offset.  Each office calculates the Income Tax Refund amount and processes the offset of the refund independently.  If more money is offset (intercepted) than is owed, law requires the excess amount to be refunded to the non-custodial parent.