Like every state, Indiana’s legislation includes a formula for calculating child support. “Ordinary” educational costs are included in the state’s child support guidelines, but Indiana’s laws also allow judges to consider extraordinary educational expenses and to require parents to pay toward them separate and apart from the base child support amount. Although this law commonly comes into play with post-secondary education such as college, Indiana’s legislation specifically states that it applies to secondary schooling as well, including private high schools, trade schools and special needs schools.
Public School Costs
When children go to a public secondary school, associated costs are generally minimal. Tuition and book costs are rarely a factor and school-associated extra expenses might be limited to extracurricular activities. Indiana law considers that basic child support calculations cover these sort of expenses.
Private School Costs
If your child goes to private school or requires a special needs school, the associated costs are usually more than child support can cover. Indiana law gives judges the right to divide these costs between the parents over and above the existing child support amount. Usually a judge will apportion the costs the same way he apportions child support, assigning you and your child’s other parent a percentage of the total expense based on your respective incomes. The law also allows a judge to decide whether private school is necessary. He might take into consideration whether you and your child's other parent are in favor of private schooling and if a similar education is available at another school for less cost.
Effect on Child Support
Some states consider that it costs more to raise a child of secondary school age than a younger child, but Indiana's child support laws don't make adjustments for the ages of your children. However, if your teenager goes away to boarding school and is living away from home through most of the year, this can have an impact on the calculation of child support. Section 2 of Indiana’s child support worksheet adjusts the child support amount because in this case, the child's room and board are paid to the school.
Indiana law treats post-secondary education costs and child support much the same way it addresses secondary school costs. The age of majority in Indiana is 21, and child support is payable for a child up until that age, when many children are attending college. A judge will decide on college costs and apportion the costs between parents in the same way he decides private secondary education costs. Child support is modified in the same way it would be if your child lived away from home to attend a private secondary school.