Going through a divorce can be a difficult experience on its own. If the divorcing couple has children, then the process can be even more complicated.
The child support attorneys at L. Patrick Mulligan & Associates, LLC break down what parents need to know regarding Ohio’s child support laws and the potential responsibilities of each parent.
Determining Child Support
Child support is necessary to provide financial stability to a child or children after a divorce. Typically, the noncustodial parent is responsible for paying for child support; however, the court will determine what is in the child's best interest. Even if parents have joint custody, one of the parents may still be ordered to pay child support.
How Much Is Child Support?
Each family scenario is different and there is no one set amount of child support required. The goal of child support is to balance the standard of living for the child financially.
The court will ultimately decide how much child support must be paid. However, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services has a child support estimation calculator to help individuals gauge the amount of support that may be required of them. To get the best estimate possible, individuals will need gross annual income information for at least one of the parents (having this information for both parents will give a better estimate). Financial sources to establish the gross annual income should include compensation for employment, unemployment, any disability or retirement benefits, commission, bonuses, and any additional source of income for the last three years.
Additional information to help estimate the amount of child support includes:
- Child care expenses;
- Health care expenses and premiums;
- Tuition (if applicable);
- Pre-existing child support payments; and,
- Potential spousal support payments.
If a child is receiving benefits from Social Security, that could adjust the amount of child support provided by the parent.
What is Child Support Supposed to Cover?
As previously shared, the purpose of child support is to ensure the child has a standard of lifestyle that they were previously accustomed to or at a level that is balanced between both parents. Therefore, any child support payments made should be used for the following:
- School fees;
- Childcare; and,
- Transportation costs.
When it comes to medical care, the court will usually determine which parent, if not both, should be responsible for expenses such as doctor visits, medication, or additional medical expenses.
How Long is Child Support Required?
It is usually thought that child support payments can end once a child turns 18 years old. However, in Ohio, that is not necessarily the case. Other factors that are taken into consideration when determining when child support ends include:
- If the child is still in high school;
- If the child has a mental or physical disability; and,
- If a pre-arranged agreement was made to extend child support payments.
Learn more about the length of time required for child support payments in Ohio here.
Can Child Support be Modified?
Yes! Once a child support arrangement is made it does not necessarily mean it will stay that way forever. There are multiple scenarios that could result in the change of child support payments such as:
- One of the parents losing their job or getting a new job;
- One of the parents remarrying and/or going through another divorce; or,
- A significant change has been made for the care of your child (such as they become mentally or physically disabled).
Ohio law states that a child support arrangement may only be changed if it has been at minimum three years since the original arrangement was made or modified. A parent can request the Child Support Enforcement Agency to review the arrangement by going to the state’s Department of Job and Family Services website.
Learn More About Ohio’s Child Support Laws
If you are considering a divorce and have children, or believe you are entitled to child support for your child, then you want to take action sooner rather than later. The attorneys at L. Patrick Mulligan & Associates, LLC are here to answer your questions about the state’s child support laws and navigate the process with you.