Revisions to Indiana’s Child Support Guidelines went into effect on January 1, 2010, so JTAC’s web developers worked last year with the Domestic Relations Committee to design a new child support calculator that is compliant with the new guidelines. Since the new calculator went online the afternoon of December 31, the site has been visited over 17,000 times and nearly 1,800 calculations have been saved. Presumably, the community of judges and attorneys in the state who have long used Indiana’s online and downloadable child support calculators made up a good portion of those visitors.
The new calculator is designed specifically for parents and pro se litigants, with instructions and help information to guide them along the way. The new calculator has some technical advantages over the previous version. First, it’s cross-browser compatible, which means the growing number of Mac owners will have no trouble using the calculator in Safari or Firefox. The calculator is not, however, compatible with Internet Explorer (IE) version 6.0 or older. IE6 was released in 2001 and simply cannot support the technology the new calculator is based on. Second, the save feature no longer relies on “cookies,” which present a host of challenges, such as connecting the saved file to your local machine instead of saving the calculation on the web server. This meant that people using one computer could not save a calculation and retrieve it from another computer at a later date. The calculator’s new save feature provides the user with a transaction ID # that is added to the forms.
The save feature is meant to allow a user to return and edit information or reprint forms at a later date, but there are other potential uses for it. For example, a husband and wife seeking a divorce could cooperatively work on the same calculation and pass the transaction number by email. Or a litigant can start the calculation and send the transaction number to his attorney for completion. A judge could enter the transaction number at the bottom of forms filed by a pro se litigant and make necessary changes to the calculation without having to re-enter all the data.
Judges and attorneys who lament the loss of the shorter online practitioners calculator and the downloadable calculator should rest assured that JTAC web developers are working on new versions for each of the other two calculators. Lindsey Borschel, JTAC’s Web Coordinator, and Daryl Stites, Web Application Developer, are the primary staff people working on the project. If you have problems using the calculator or suggestions on how to improve it, please email Lindsey at firstname.lastname@example.org.