How Is Child Support Determined?
The State of Ohio has established statutory schedules that guide parents and courts in child support matters. These state guidelines consider family income and other factors to determine child support awards. Ohio child support guidelines are based on 2 types of worksheets. One applies to sole custody cases (with and without shared parenting orders). The other is used in split custody arrangements where there is more than one child, and each parent has custody of one or more children.
State guidelines take into account all sources of income received by the mother and father including average salaries, overtime wages, bonuses, self-employment income, interest and dividends. The worksheets balance parental income against certain other financial factors such as cost of work-related day care expenses, cost of providing health insurance coverage for the minor children, local taxes, union dues, and previously existing spousal support or child support orders.
Child Support in Shared Parenting Situations
In calculating child support for shared parenting cases, an attorney will usually calculate worksheets for each parent as though each was the sole residential parent and legal custodian and then take into account the parenting time division and other factors.
There is no separate child support schedule formula, however, for shared parenting, so the ultimate award, unless it is the statutory amount for one of the parents, will be the result of a Finding of Fact and Conclusion of Law which sets out the reasons for the amount of the award.
A division of parenting time beyond model parenting time standards, typically an alternating weekend and alternating holiday and vacation schedule, can result in a reduction in support. Likewise, the relative incomes of the parties, unusual costs for the child or children, such as private school or exceptional extracurricular costs, can also affect the outcome. The child support award, then, in shared parenting cases will vary based upon the specific factors present.
Duration of Child Support Orders
Child support orders are payable until a child turns age 18 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs last. Orders can continue up to age 19 if a child is still attending high school on a full time basis.
Modification of Child Support
Child support is, unfortunately, not always a one-time determination. As your financial circumstances change, it frequently becomes necessary to petition the court for alterations in the child support arrangements. Modifications may be initiated by either party as a post-decree motion (or in conjunction with a motion for modification of parental rights and responsibilities) or by requesting the county Child Support Enforcement Agency to conduct an administrative review.