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Child support can be established through the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) or through a private court action in the appropriate juvenile or domestic relations court. Ohio law governs how much child support a parent must pay.
Ohio law governs how much child support a parent must pay. The amount depends on the custody arrangement, how many children are involved, the income of both parents, both parents’ obligations for spousal and child support from other marriages, and other factors. In determining a child support obligation, the court will look to the best interests of the child and to ensuring that the arrangement is as fair as possible. Remember that a paternity test is always required, if a parent wants to seek child support.
GETTING CHILD SUPPORT
If you want to claim child support, you must request an order for support from the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA). The CSEA will give that order if paternity has been established through an official Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit, in which both parents sign a form agreeing that they are the parents, or in certain cases where there is a presumption of paternity. The CSEA may ask the court for a child support order under certain circumstances even if neither parent has requested it.
Once the CSEA has determined paternity and decided to issue an order for child support, it will set a time for a hearing. Both parents must attend and bring documentation of their earnings and health insurance coverage. At that hearing, an administrator will take into consideration the economic positions of both parents as well as their testimony and will use the Ohio state guidelines to determine a support obligation.
Both parties have the right to fight the decision made at this initial meeting by filing an objection with the court. They will then have a hearing in court to determine the child support obligation.
THE AMOUNT OF THE SUPPORT
The amount of your child support obligation is determined by a state-issued set of guidelines. The guidelines include consideration of your income and the income of the other parent. The court will also look at whether you’re supporting other children. The child support guidelines include consideration of which parent is bearing the brunt of child care costs.
As part of the child support obligation, the parent paying child support will also be required to pay medical support. That may mean including your child on your health insurance or paying a certain amount to the state to cover medical expenses. You may choose to include your child on your health insurance even if you’re not required to do so by the child support order and you may be able to claim credit for that expense.
Your support obligation may change if your income changes. It may also change if you marry and become responsible for your new spouse’s children or if you have other children yourself.
FAILURE TO PAY
If a parent fails to pay child support, the process for pursuing payment can be complex. You’ll need to work with the CSEA or another organization to find the non-custodial parent. That office may be able to garnish the non-custodial parent’s wages or seize his or her property as payment. The CSEA may also be able to issue a seek work order if the non-custodial parent is able to work but is not employed. That order will require the parent to seek a job or enroll in a job readiness program. In addition, the CSEA may have the driver’s license of a non-paying parent suspended until payment is made.
WE’RE ON YOUR SIDE
If you need to set up a child support arrangement, attorneys at Kirkland & Sommers can help you create an agreement and deal with the court approval process. We can also help you track down a non-paying parent and pursue payment through the court system. Non-payment of child support is a serious offense and there are multiple ways in which you may be able to collect. We’ll make sure you understand the child support system and we’ll help you find a solution that works best for you. To speak to one of our child support lawyers, contact Kirkland & Sommers today.
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