Child support is a serious matter. Significant life situations like divorce or being a single parent puts strain on adults, but they also seriously affect children. The state isn't in a position to provide the emotional support that children require for positive development, but it does have the ability to help manage the financial side of things and it does this through the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA).
As state-administered programs go, Ohio officials say the child support program affects more children than nearly any other, touching more than 1 million children's lives. Only public education serves a larger constituency.
To fulfill its duty to ensure the economic security of children who've been granted support orders by the court, the CSEA has authority to oversee the withholding of money from paychecks or other income sources belonging to obligor parents. It also has authority, if necessary, to:
- Seize tax refunds and/or bank account funds
- Suspend licenses
- Issue orders for past due support payments
- Exercise a lien against real property held by an obligor
The CSEA wields a lot of power, but that does not mean that parents have no remedy against actions with which they might disagree. In such events, either a custodial or a non-custodial parent can seek a hearing. But the proper grounds must exist.
For example, a non-custodial parent has the right to seek a hearing in cases where:
- Services to establish paternity have been denied
- CSEA rejects a request to review an existing order for possible modification
- The parent disagrees with CSEA's findings about when support should end
An even longer list of possible grounds exists for custodial parents. What is common to either of the sources of such requests is that a compelling case is necessary. And that is a task that calls for experienced legal counsel.