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Fathers could be ordered to help pay for cribs, diapers and more under approved bill

A bedroom with a crib.
Legislation overwhelmingly approved by the General Assembly would allow courts to order fathers to help pay for expenses related to childbirth that go beyond medical care – including diapers, feeding supplies and cribs.

Indiana courts could order new fathers to help pay for more expenses related to childbirth under legislation a step away from becoming law.

Under current law, courts can order fathers to pay for half of expenses related to medical needs surrounding childbirth – prenatal and postnatal care, hospitalization and delivery.

Legislation that sailed through the House and Senate with almost no opposition, HB 1009, expands that list to include, as Rep. Elizabeth Rowray (R-Yorktown) explained, items for when the baby goes home from the hospital – a crib, feeding supplies and diapers, for example.

The Senate made a small addition, Rowray said: the expenses must be “reasonable.”

“So, I liken that to, you need a baby crib, but you don’t necessarily need the big, round one that’s three times more expensive than a regular, rectangular one,” Rowray said.

READ MORE: House committee amends pregnancy child support bill

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The measure is headed to the governor's desk. If it becomes law, it wouldn’t take effect until January 2024.

The bill ended up much different from where it began this session. The original legislation would have extended child support to conception, rather than beginning at birth.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.