Basic Rules of Child Support

In society today the number of children living in single-family homes has nearly doubled in the last 50 years. Nearly one third of all children in the U.S are being raised by only one parent in the household. In response to this high number, many fathers and mothers are required to pay child support to the custodial parent (the parent that the child resides with on a regular basis). The reason child support exists is to make sure the child’s lifestyle is not altered in any way financially once there is only one parent present in the household full time.

Child Support can be defined as the ongoing periodical payment by the obligor (the parent making the payments) to an obligee (the parent receiving the payments) for the financial care and support of a child. The laws that govern child support vary on a state by state basis, and each state is responsible for developing its very own guidelines to determine how child support will be paid. In the state of Ohio, the guideline for determining child support is found in the Ohio Revised Code§§3119.01 which is based off of the Income Shares Model.

The Income shares model is a formula that is used not to establish what it actually costs to raise a child, but rather to establish the child support amount of each child. The goal of the Income Shares model is to not alter the parental income that the child would be receiving if the parents were still residing in the same household.

Example: The income of both parents a month is $10,000

The Fathers income totals $6,000 per month (60%) and the Mother income totals $4,000 a month (40%). This makes a combined total of $10,000 (100%)

Expenditures on Children in intact family could be $2,000 a month.

Each parents share would be calculated by each of their percentages of the monthly income. The Father would pay 60% of the $2,000 a month it requires to raise their child in a months’ time ($1,200). The Mother is then responsible for 40% of the $2,000 ($800).

If a change needs to be made to the amount paid in child support each month, either parent/guardian may ask for the change. The CSEA (Child Support Enforcement Agency) can “Review” a child support order to look at both parties income. The CSEA can also “adjust” the child support, which is an upward or downward change in the amount of support based on the application of the Ohio guidelines. Common reasons why people qualify to have their monthly child support payments modified include:

  1. The obligor has been laid off from their employment or became unemployed at no fault of their own, for at least a time span of 30 days.
  2. The obligor has experienced a decreased gross income of 30% or more for at least a period of six-months because of circumstances beyond their control.

However, regardless of financial circumstances under Ohio law any parent is entitled to a review of child support 36 months after the child support is initiated.

In addition to ways to alter Child Support, there are also circumstances in which the obligors obligation to pay support is terminated. In order to terminate child support, the parent must contact CSEA to notify them of the potential to cease payments. If the parent fails to notify the CSEA and stops payment, they will be held in contempt of court. After the CSEA is notified, they will launch an administrative termination investigation to determine if the child support payments should stop because an administrative termination reason exists. Examples of administrative reasons are as follows:

  • The child reached the age of maturity (18 years of age in the state of Ohio) or the child graduates high school (whichever happens first);
  • The death of the child;
  • The child gets married;
  • The child’s emancipation;
  • The child’s adoption;
  • The death of the obligor

The Ohio the revised code regarding Termination of Child Support:

Peter C. Kratcoski, Esq.
Riley Martin, Researcher