Child Support

Both parties have a financial obligation to support the child(ren) in the State of Ohio. This applies to both married and unmarried parents.

The parties owe child support up to age eighteen (18) or graduation from high school. There are some rare circumstances where a child support order may terminate earlier than age 18. However, they are infrequent and usually have to deal with the fact that the child is emancipated (i.e. married with the consent of the parents, member of the military, etc.). On the other hand, if a child has been determined by a court to be substantially handicapped prior to turning age 18, then a court can order continued support against the parties indefinitely into the future.

A very common question “How much will someone receive or pay in child support?” Child support is calculated in Ohio by using statutory guidelines – based upon the parties’ combined gross income. The court must first determine what the parties’ gross incomes from all sources are. The court will then determine what local taxes are paid by the parties, any mandatory business expenses, any health insurance costs for the child(ren) only and child care costs for the child(ren) only. Once those costs are determined, the court is in a position to establish a child support guideline.

Once the base amount of child support has been decided, the issue of who will be responsible for paying support and should there be any deviations based upon the parenting time or other special obligations that each party has undertaken for the child(ren). Each case is different and it is crucial to understand all of the factors that can impact a court’s child support order. A common misconception is the belief that if there is a shared parenting plan and the parties have the child(ren) equal time – there will be no child support order. That notion is inaccurate in most situations unless the parties are earning almost identical incomes. The question that would be left for the court to determine is what amount of deviation the person paying child support is entitled to. For example, if someone had their child(ren) fifty percent (50%) of the time, then it might be unfair for him/her to pay the full amount of child support.

The factors that the court may consider are as follows:

  • Special and unusual needs of the child(ren).
  • Extraordinary obligations for the minor child(ren) or handicapped child(ren).
  • Other court-ordered payments.
  • Extended parenting time or extraordinary costs associated with parenting time.
  • Significant in-kind contributions from a parent, including, but not limited to, direct payment for lessons, sports equipment, schooling, or clothing.

It is always important to remember that your child(ren) must have their basic needs met. Both parents have a moral and legal obligation to help support the child(ren) that they brought into this world. Child support is one of those obligations.

The payer of support will never be able to get an exact accounting of what his or her child support has gone for. The law does not provide that the payee of support to supply this information. However, when the parties are negotiating the termination of their marriage, the parties can agree that certain expenses will be paid from the child support and that helps to diffuse what could become a contentious situation.

Any issues with respect to the child(ren), whether it is custody, visitation or child support is subject to modification until the child is emancipated. This may be due to loss of employment, or either an increase or decrease in income. The modification can go either way. The courts generally will not entertain a modification of a child support order unless it has been shown that there is a 10% change in the order based upon the parties’ current financial circumstances.

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