Child Support and Divorce
If you want to establish child support during or after a divorce, or need to modify child support, the attorneys at Bergman & Yiangou are here to ensure that you receive the best legal counsel for you and your children. We are committed to aggressively representing you in all types of child support and child custody matters.
What is child support?
Child support is a monetary obligation owed by a biological parent, adoptive parent, or parent who acknowledged paternity on a child’s birth certificate or in a probate procedure. This obligation is based upon the income of the parties and various other factors (see below) and must be paid by one parent to the other for the support of the parties’ child or children. Depending on the totality of the circumstances, both parents can be responsible for this obligation and for payment of child support.
How is child support determined?
The obligor’s (party responsible for paying child support) child support calculation is in accordance with the Ohio Child Support Guidelines worksheet. The Ohio Child Support Guidelines worksheet will take into account all sources of income for both parents, including total wages (base salary, overtime, bonuses, interests and dividends, and self employment). Should one or both parties be unemployed, the potential income of the parent or parents may be imputed. The worksheet will then analyze any financial expenses of the parents, such as day care expenses, costs of providing health insurance for the child(ren), prior child support or spousal support orders, taxes, and other extraordinary reasons for deviation. Child support can be ordered by the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA), by the domestic relations court, or by the juvenile court in your county.
How are child support payments made?
All child support payments are made through the county Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) located in the department of job and family services. Pursuant to the Ohio Revised Code, payments are always withheld by a wage withholding order, meaning monies will come directly from the obligor’s pay advices. The collected payments plus a processing charge will then be dispersed by the CSEA to the obligee (the parent receiving child support payments). The obligor is required to notify the CSEA of any changes to employment, including loss of employment and change of employers. Furthermore, the CSEA has broad powers to collect child support payments, including attachment of bank accounts and tax refunds.
How long does a child support order last?
Child support orders last until the child reaches the age of 18, graduates high school, or is emancipated, whichever event occurs last. However, a child support order can continue past the age of 18 if the child is still enrolled as a full-time high school student, or should special needs require an extension of support. Should the child still be enrolled in high school full-time after the age of 18, child support payments will continue until the child graduates or reaches the age of 19, whichever occurs first. It is the obligor’s duty to inform the CSEA of the emancipation of the child by providing the CSEA a copy of the emancipated child’s high school diploma to indicate graduation. If a child is deemed to be mentally challenged and unable to support him or herself, their obligation to pay child support can last longer.
What happens if my income changes after a child support order has been established?
The amount of child support paid can be modified by either parent after an order has been established. Should there be a ten percent increase or decrease in income or expenses, one party can request that the Child Support Enforcement Agency perform an administrative review of the parents’ current incomes and expenses. This review can be requested once every three years. Additionally, one party can seek modification through the court system by motion. In order for the courts or CSEA to approve the modification, the moving parent must prove there is a substantial change to their income or expenses which prevent them from making the current child support obligation which requires an increase in the child support obligation.
What happens if the obligor stops making child support payments?
The obligee can initiate certain proceedings to attempt to collect child support payments from an obligor who has stopped making payments, including the filing of a contempt motion in the courts, attempting to seize the obligor’s federal and state tax refunds, attempting garnish the obligor’s pension or retirement accounts, placing a lien on the obligor’s real estate, or attempting to bring about felony charges of non-support. Felony charges of non-support can be filed against an obligor who willfully disobeys payment of his or her child support obligation over a statutorily defined period of time.
The experienced divorce lawyers at Bergman & Yiangou provide excellent legal representation for your child support rights. Call 614 -279-8276 for a free consultation with a knowledgeable child support attorney at our law firm in Columbus, Ohio.