Child Support in Ohio: What You Need to Know

Child support is a financial obligation that one party in a relationship must pay to the other party. Generally speaking, child support should cover basic needs like food, shelter, clothing, and medical expenses. In addition to financial assistance, parents are also expected to provide emotional support for their children.

One of the most common issues former couples face is determining how much child support to pay. The following outlines the guidelines for determining child support in Ohio.

The Court System and Child Support in Ohio

In Ohio, the court system is responsible for determining child support. The court system evaluates the financial resources of each parent and then decides how much child support should be paid. Child support is very important because it helps provide for a child's nutritional, educational, and health needs. 

While there are many different ways to calculate child support, one common method is to take into account both parents' income and how much time they spend with their children. The number of children involved will also be taken into consideration when awarding child support.

Spousal support may also be awarded in an Ohio divorce proceeding if one spouse is financially dependent on the other.

Calculating Child Support in Ohio

In Ohio, child support is determined by calculating the percentage of parental income that would be appropriate to provide for the child/children. Parental income is based on the gross income of each parent. To determine the percentage, the parent's income is multiplied by a specific number. This number will then give a percentage that corresponds to the ideal amount, based on their income, that they have to pay in child support.

Who Pays Child Support in Ohio?

In Ohio, child support is typically paid by the noncustodial parent. This means that the parent who does not have custody of the child is responsible for financially supporting them. There are a few exceptions to this rule, but for the most part, it is the noncustodial parent who pays all (or a larger chunk of) child support in Ohio. This rule is likely so as it is believed that custodial parents often have several expenses that go directly to the child.

In a case where the custodial parent earns a higher income but the other parent is without a job (or is imprisoned, for example), the custodial parent would also be responsible for paying child support. However, the process is not automatic. The lower-earning parent would have to file for child support modification.

If successful, this means that the parent with the higher income will also be required to pay a share of their income towards their children's care and support. 

Can a Person Simply Quit Their Job and Then File for Child Support Modification?

As we just mentioned, in Ohio, a person can file for child support modification if they can prove that they cannot afford to pay the current amount of child support. This is done by submitting documentation such as bank statements, income taxes, and social security benefits. If the court determines that the person cannot afford to pay the current amount of child support, then the court may order them to pay more or less than the current amount.

So, what if the other parent decides to quit their job in a bid to avoid paying child support?

Well, even if they do, as we also mentioned earlier, the process of revising child support payments is not automatic. The court will consider a variety of factors before deciding. These factors include the parent's level of education, previous jobs, previous salaries, personal skills, talents, training, as well as local job availability, etc. If it is determined that a parent quits (or simply loses) their job, but has the proper skills and training to secure another, the court will order them to continue paying child support.

Must You Have Been Married to the Other Parent to Get Child Support From Them?

In Ohio, child support is only payable if the parents of the child were married or living in a civil union before having the child. If the parents were never married or never lived in a civil union, then the parent who has custody of the child must establish paternity to be able to receive child support from the other parent.

How Long Do You Have to Pay Child Support in Ohio?

Ohio law requires parents to support their children by paying for their child support until they reach the age of 18, or until they have graduated from high school. So, essentially, under state law, parental responsibilities end when the child graduates from high school or turns 18, whichever comes second. 

However, if a parent wishes to simply continue payments after the child is 18 years old and has completed high school, they may voluntarily do so.

On the other hand, in a case where the child has a mental or physical impairment that renders them unable to care for or sustain themselves, child support payments must continue even if the child is 18 years old and has completed high school education. 

What are the Consequences of Not Paying Child Support in Ohio?

When a parent fails to make child support payments, it can have serious consequences. Not only can the non-paying parent end up owing money to the other parent, but their children may also suffer as a result. In addition to financial penalties, not paying child support can also lead to criminal charges. If convicted, a non-paying parent could face severe penalties, including jail time and hefty fines. 

Fortunately, there are ways to overcome any financial or legal obstacles if you're struggling to make child support payments. Speak with an Ohio child support lawyer for help understanding your options and getting back on track. Our attorneys can help you understand your options, whether you are trying to reduce or end your payments, dispute a ruling, or just get some clarity on what is fair.