Child Support in Ohio
Child support in Ohio is calculated by statutory formula that accounts for a number of figures, including the number of children subject of the order, party incomes, qualified daycare expenses, the marginal cost for health insurance for the children subject of the order and other factors. This basic child support schedule is commonly referred to as the Ohio Child Support Guideline calculation. There are 2 different child support schedules – one for sole custody or shared parenting calculations (found at R.C. 3119.022), the other for split custody calculations (found at R.C. 3119.023).
Even in those cases in which the parties agree or the court orders an amount of child support that differs from the guideline calculation (see discussion of child support deviations below), it remains necessary to complete a child support worksheet to determine and reference what the amount of guideline child support is and the child support worksheet must be made a part of the court record. The calculated child support guideline amount is rebuttably presumed to be the proper amount of child support under Ohio law. When the parties’ cumulative gross incomes exceed $150,000 annually, a child support worksheet is still calculated but Ohio courts are required to determine child support on a case-by-case basis in such circumstances.
Ohio courts can also deviate from the child support guideline calculation when it is expressly determined that the guideline amount of child support would be “unjust” and “not in the best interest” of the minor child. The statutory factors found at R.C. 3119.23 that a court may consider in evaluating the merits of a child support deviation are as follows:
- Special and unusual needs of the child;
- Extraordinary obligations for the child;
- Other court-ordered payments;
- Extended parenting time or extraordinary costs associated with parenting time;
- The obligor obtaining additional employment to support a second family after a support order is issued;
- Financial resources and earning ability of the child;
- Disparity in income between parties / households;
- The benefits that either party receives from remarriage or the sharing of expenses with another person;
- The amount of federal, state and local taxes actually paid by a parent;
- Any significant in-kind contributions from a parent (e.g. payment for lessons, sports equipment, clothing, schooling)
- Relative financial resources, assets and needs of the parties;
- Standard of living that the child would have continued to enjoy if the marriage continued;
- The physical and emotional needs of the child;
- Need and capacity of the child for an education that would have been available but for the marriage ending;
- The responsibility of each parent for the support of others; and
- Any other relevant factor.
Child support obligations generally last until a child “emancipates” by becoming 18 years old or graduating high school, whichever occurs last in time. However, it is possible for Ohio courts to order child support to be paid for a child beyond emancipation. Those cases in which child support goes beyond emancipation are commonly known as “Castle cases.”
In 1984, the Ohio Supreme Court in Castle v. Castle, 15 Ohio St.3d 279 (1984) recognized that a parent’s legal obligation to financially support a child can continue beyond emancipation if the child is disabled. The Ohio Legislature subsequently enacted R.C. 3119.86, which effectively codified the Castle decision and provides that the legal obligation of support does not stop when a disabled child turns 18. The courts of appeals in Ohio have applied different interpretations in Castle cases, particularly regarding whether a child support order for a disabled child must be in placed before the disabled child turns 18 in order for the legal obligation of child support to continue beyond that age. Thus, the outcome in a Castle case can hinge upon the county in which your case is pending.
In Ohio, child support is traditionally identified as a monthly obligation. Child support must be paid through and processed by Ohio’s Child Support Payment Central (CSPC) by way of the respective county child support enforcement agency (CSEA). Child support is non-taxable for the recipient and, similarly, non-deductible for the payor.
During any period of time that an Ohio court maintains jurisdiction over a child, child support can be modified. Ohio law provides that modification is required if there is a change of circumstance. A change of circumstance is either: (1) a change of 10% or more in the child support order itself; or (2) a change of circumstance not contemplated at the time of the last order. Parties can seek modification of child support through the court at any time, but the appropriate CSEA also conducts an administrative review of the child support order every three years.
The attorneys at Gary J. Gottfried Co., L.P.A. have nearly 50 combined years of experience in handling child support cases in Ohio, including those of significant complexity. Gary J. Gottfried Co., L.P.A. assists clients with child support issues throughout Central Ohio including Franklin, Delaware, Licking, Fairfield, Union, Knox, Morrow and Madison Counties.