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Indiana Supreme Court: Indiana Court Has Discretion To Modify Foreign Child Support Order's Payment Terms
Posted in Litigation

In Hamilton v. Hamilton, the Indiana Supreme Court held that it was within an Indiana trial court’s discretion to issue a contempt order that required a father to pay a child support obligation on different terms than those set forth by the issuing foreign jurisdiction. 

In Hamilton, a Florida court entered an order sentencing a father to jail unless the father paid $7500 within a certain time.  Because the father moved to Indiana, the mother sought enforcement of the Florida orders in Indiana courts.  The Indiana court extended full faith and credit to the foreign orders except that it stayed the jail sentence if the father paid $3750, followed by monthly payments of $1250. 

The Indiana Supreme Court discussed the difference between the Full Faith and Credit for Child Support Orders Act (FFCCSOA) and the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA), observing that while both aim “to create a national regime in which only a single support order is effective at any time,” the two are not the same and “where UIFSA is silent, the FFCCSOA may help fill any gaps.” 

Applying the standards here, the Court found that the trial court’s modification of payment terms to help the father avoid incarceration constituted valid enforcement and did not impermissibly modify the foreign support order.  “The UIFSA enforcement options are permissive, not compulsory, and contemplate that not all enforcement mechanisms will demand 100 cents on every dollar owed.”

The Court further held that the Federal Consumer Credit Protection Act (FCCPA) “limits the amount of a person’s wages that may be assigned but does not limit the overall amount of support that a parent may owe.”  The Court found that to the extent the trial court’s order was based on perceived garnishment limitations, remand was required for “the trial court to render a contempt determination without reference or deference to the FCCPA.”



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