In divorces and legal separations, the issue of child support is a sensitive matter. The decisions relating to support, custody, and visitation will have a significant impact on your child’s way of life and their overall well-being, which makes the process even more challenging for parents.
Disputes often arise over the amount of child support that one parent must pay to the other. Ohio law addresses the matter of child support by setting forth guidelines that consider many factors. For example, both parent’s income, the number of children involved, and the amount of time the children spend with each parent are all considered when determining a child support order.
At Slater & Zurz, we will diligently work on your behalf to ensure the amount of child support is based on an accurate assessment of the income and expenses of both you and your child’s other parent, protecting your child’s best interests. Our Cleveland child support lawyers understand the far-reaching effects of paying or receiving child support. That is why we use our extensive experience and resources to advocate strongly on behalf of you and your child to secure a favorable outcome.
Call (440) 557-2861 or contact us online to speak to a Cleveland child support lawyer.
Child Support in Cleveland, Ohio
Child support ensures that both parents, regardless of their relationship status, financially support their child to the best of their ability. Although the support is solely for the child, the custodial parent is responsible for using the payments to provide for the child’s needs.
Though the parent has some flexibility in how they choose to use the money on behalf of their child, there are some ways child support should and should not be used.
What Child Support Covers
A child support order is established to provide for a child’s basic needs. These include:
- School tuition and expenses
- Health care
- Child care
What is Not Covered
Generally, Ohio child support orders do not cover the following:
- Extracurricular activities
- The cost of uniforms
- Summer camp
- Extraordinary health expenses
Should a child need any of the uncovered expenses listed above, parents will need to come to an agreement on how each parent will contribute to these costs.
Calculating Ohio Child Support
Ohio has a set of guidelines for determining the appropriate amount of child support.
Cleveland courts consider the financial circumstances of each parent, among other factors. Child support calculations include all of the following types of income and expenses:
- Workers’ compensation benefits
- Disability benefits
- Unemployment compensation benefits
- Severance pay
- Retirement income
- Income from rental properties
- Trusts or endowments
- Investment income
- Spousal support payments
- Child care expenses
- Health insurance premiums
- Income taxes
- Child support payments for other minor children
- Some work-related expenses, such as retirement contributions and mandatory union dues
For an estimate on child support payments, you may use Ohio’s child support calculator.
Call now to arrange a FREE, confidential consultation with an experienced child support attorney in Cleveland. (440) 557-2861
Modifying Child Support in Cleveland
Child support payments are calculated using a formula based on the financial situation of each parent. Although parents and courts try their best to consider future events when determining child support, it is not uncommon for one or both parents to experience significant changes in their financial circumstances at some point within the duration of the ordered child support.
Should either parent want to change an existing child support order, they have two ways to do so. They can ask for an administrative hearing through their local Child Support Enforcement Agency office or file a motion in court.
An Administrative Review with the CSEA
A parent can ask for a modification by contacting their local CSEA office and requesting an administrative review. These reviews can only be done if the existing order has been in effect for three years or more or when a parent experiences a significant change to their financial situation, such as a loss of employment or permanent disability.
During the review, a CSEA caseworker will determine whether there is a need for a modification by looking at any changes in either parent’s financial situation. Should either parent disagree with the CSEA’s decision, they can still seek a different resolution by filing a motion with the court.
Asking the Court for a Child Support Modification
A parent can also seek a modification of their current child support order by filing a motion with the court. Going through the court is typically necessary when it has not been more than 36 months since the existing support order was established or in cases where one or both parents disagree with the CSEA’s determination.
The motion must be filed with the same court that issued the original order. It is done so by completing the necessary paperwork, which will also explain the change of circumstances. Once the paperwork is filed, the other party will be notified, and the court will set a hearing date. After hearing about the proposed need for a modification, the judge will make their determination. They will issue a modified child support order if they feel a change is warranted.
Unlike the CSEA, Ohio courts have more discretion when it comes to deviating from the state’s child support guidelines, though the process can be more complicated. That is why we always recommend consulting with a Cleveland child support modification lawyer to ensure you secure a favorable outcome.
Enforcing Child Support in Ohio
When a child support order is established, the parent ordered to pay the support must abide by the order throughout its duration. Should the parent fall behind on the payments or refuse to comply with the terms of the order, there are several measures the CSEA can take to collect any past-due support. These enforcement methods include:
- Credit reporting
- Suspension of professional licensing
- Increase withholding to repay past-due support
- Issuing an order to seek employment if the parent has no income or assets
- Intercept casino or Ohio lottery winnings
If a parent fails to comply with the established child support order, enforcement by the court may become necessary. A Cleveland court can hold the parent in contempt for any of the following reasons:
- Failing to comply with the provisions of the established order
- Disobeying a court order or judgment
- Failing to obey a subpoena or refusing to answer as a witness
- Failing to appear in court
- Failing to submit to genetic testing
Ohio allows for criminal penalties in these cases, which include significant fines and a jail or prison sentence. The sentence length depends on how long the parent failed to comply with the order.
Top Cleveland Child Support Lawyers
For over 30 years, our leading Family Law attorneys in Cleveland, Ohio, have advocated on behalf of parents and children regarding child support, custody, and visitation. We help parents come to a fair and equitable child support agreement that serves their child’s best interests, whether through successful negotiation or court order.
Should the matter need to go to trial, we will aggressively represent you in court with compassion for you and your child’s needs and best interests at the forefront.
To get the legal representation you need during child support, child custody, or other family law matter, turn to the dedicated legal team at Slater & Zurz. Call our Cleveland family law attorneys at (440) 557-2861 to get started today.