Child support is a court-ordered regular payment one parent must pay to the other. Both parents have the responsibility to provide financial support for their children whether or not they are married and even if they do not want to have a relationship with their children. Child support is one of the main legal issues in a divorce or if the parents were never married and paternity of the child is known.
Child support orders have a far-reaching effect on the lives of parents. They ensure that a parent can afford to provide a child’s basic needs and they ensure a parent can afford to make payments to the other parent and still have enough income to survive.
Child Support Determinations
Ohio law sets out particular guidelines that take into consideration a number of factors in awarding
support. They include:
- Respective income of each parent
- Number of children being supported
- Expenses for child’s health care, insurance and day care
- Parenting time of each parent
- Other expenses deemed relevant
The parent who spends more time with the children (usually the custodial parent) tends to be the one to receive child support. This arrangement could change if there is a significant income discrepancy between the custodial and non-custodial parent.
Deviations in Awarding Child Support
Adjustments in the amount of child support award in Ohio are known as “deviations.” Before the court grants a deviation, it wants to know the reason for the change and that it is in the best interests of the child or children. A deviation can result in less child support being paid, no child support being paid or order that more be paid than the Guidelines require.
Some of the reasons for deviations are:
- Extended parenting time beyond the Parenting Plan. This could eliminate child support for the parent receiving the deviation or reduce his child support by his parenting percentage. This parent could receive payment for extraordinary costs associated with parenting time.
- Disparity in income or financial resources between the parents
- The earning ability of each parent
- Benefits a parent receives from remarriage
- Benefits a parent receives from sharing living expenses with another person
- Significant contributions from one parent such as direct payment for lessons, sports equipment, schooling or clothing
- One parent has responsibility for the support of others or handicapped children or other court-ordered payments
- Special or unusual needs of a child
- Extraordinary costs for visitation
- The amount of taxes paid by a parent and mandatory wage deductions
- The age of the child
- Standard of living and circumstances of each parent and the standard the child would have enjoyed if the marriage had not been dissolved
- The value of services contributed by the custodial parent
- Any other relevant factor
Child support is determined by a specific mathematical formula in Ohio but family judges do have the discretion to alter the amount of support if it is believed a fair determination has not been reached. One situation in which a court may choose not to follow the formula is when a judge believes one parent is not working on purpose to avoid paying child support. The court will impute the income it ascertains the parent should be earning to reach a fair determination. Another case where the amount may be altered may be when one parent is excessively wealthy and the child’s standard of living cannot be preserved under the standard formula.
Do I Need an Attorney in Dealing with Child Support Issues?
If you are concerned that your child support payments are too low and that you cannot get by without a considerable financial struggle, you will want to talk with a family law lawyer who can help you obtain a more fair determination.
If, on the other hand, the child support payments you are making are too high, consulting an attorney may give you an avenue for having them lowered. The attorneys at Slater & Zurz LLP are very familiar with the issues in this area of family law and invite you to consult with them to see if your situation can be improved. Contact the law firm at 1-888-534-4850 and tell them you need help with child support issues. You can also contact them through the firm’s website, slaterzurz.com.