Child Support Is More Than Just A Formula
As you surf the internet, you will see pages called child support calculators. Do not rely on them. These calculators are simplistic and usually overlook significant factors affecting income and expense.
Our firm has been in the family law business in Ohio for over 40 years. Our reputation among other lawyers, with whom we lock professional horns, could not be stronger. We also assist with enforcement and modification efforts further down the road.
Who Can Request A Child Support Order?
In the event of a divorce or separation between two parents, one parent can petition the court to establish a child support order. The same is true if parents were never married and there is no question of paternity. If the identity of the father is contested or in doubt, it may be necessary to first establish paternity before issuing a support order.
In most cases, one of the two parents will seek support from the other through the court or the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services’ Office of Child Support. However, child support can also be mandated in cases where a single parent seeks child-related financial assistance from a state agency and the state wants to recoup some of those expenses from the child’s other parent.
What Does Child Support Cover?
The most basic necessities covered by child support include food, clothing, housing and utility costs. Beyond that, a child support order will likely also include provisions funding the child’s educational costs (school supplies, extracurricular activities and fees, etc.), transportation, medical insurance, medical care and more. If a child has special needs that may not be adequately funded through a “standard” support order, courts can deviate from the formula to ensure those unique financial needs are reflected.
Determining Child Support
Ohio uses the income shares method for calculating child support. This is determined by combining the gross income of both parents on a worksheet. A formula then determines basic child support based on those numbers.
Courts can consider these factors, among others, when determining the amount of child support:
- Each parent’s income from all sources and his or her potential earning power.
- The cost necessary for a parent to generate his or her income.
- The custody and visitation schedule the parents follow, and how much time each parent spends with the child.
- Any special needs the child has – medical, educational, etc.
- The cost health care coverage
- The cost of any work-related childcare.
Child support payments are not considered taxable income and, by law, must be paid through the Child Support Enforcement Agency.
Terminating Child Support
Child support orders usually have a clear beginning, but it isn’t always as obvious to know when and how support ends or if it can end early. Child support often stops when a child turns 18. However, it does not end automatically and can be terminated earlier or later, depending on the circumstances. Child support can also continue beyond a child’s 18th birthday if the child has not graduated from high school or has special needs and is not able to care for himself or herself.
Child support may be canceled for various reasons, including:
- Changes in legal custody or parenting rights
- The child gets married
- The child enlists in the military on a full-time basis
- The child is deported
- The parent has died
- The child has died
The recipient of child support is typically responsible for confirming with the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) that child support should be terminated. If you have questions about terminating child support or need guidance on canceling the order early, contact Sowald Sowald Anderson Hawley & Johnson to get the assistance you need.
When Can Child Support Amounts Be Modified?
Either parent can petition to modify the child support order if there has been a substantial change in circumstances. This could mean that either parent has experienced a significant increase or decrease in income, the child custody arrangement has changed so that the child now resides more often with the parent who had been paying support or the paying parent’s ability to pay has been hampered by disability or illness. A court may ultimately decline to grant a modification, but a substantial change would at least be grounds for the modification request.
How To Request A Child Support Modification In Ohio
As mentioned above, a common way to request a modification is to file a motion in court. This is best done with the assistance of an experienced attorney like those at our firm. We can help you present a compelling argument for why child support should or should not be modified, depending on your position.
If there has not been a substantial change in circumstances but you nonetheless believe a change is warranted, you can request an administrative review by the Child Support Enforcement Agency every 36 months.
Call Us Today For High-Quality Child Support Representation
How important is an attorney in determining child support? It depends largely on the intentions of the other parent. If he or she is determined to obtain an unfair advantage, you will be obliged to respond firmly. A significant amount of money will be on the table. You can’t afford to be treated unfairly.
We invite you to learn what our competition already knows – that Sowald Sowald Anderson Hawley & Johnson sets the standard for family law in and around Columbus.