Children have the right to receive financial as well as emotional support from their parents. Child support ensures that their financial needs are met and their standard of living is maintained following parental separation or divorce. Understanding how child support works is crucial, not only for the parents but, more importantly, for the child’s future.
At Cathy R. Cook, Attorneys at Law, our child support lawyers advocate for your child’s rights and guide you through your obligations. Whether you’re a parent seeking to understand your child support responsibilities, secure a fair agreement, or modify an existing order, we can help.
Why Hire Cathy R. Cook, Attorneys at Law for Your Child Support Case in Cincinnati?
- Experience Matters: Our firm has a deep understanding of Cincinnati’s child support laws. We’ve successfully handled hundreds of cases and made sure that our client’s rights are upheld and their children’s needs met.
- Personal Attention: Every case is unique, and we believe in providing individualized attention to each client. Your concerns are our priority.
- Empathetic Approach: We understand that child support issues can be emotional and challenging. Our team approaches every situation with sensitivity so that you feel supported throughout the process.
- Clear Communication: We believe in clear and straightforward communication. You are part of the team. We keep you informed at every stage, helping you make the best decisions for your family.
Child support cases require both legal expertise and human understanding. At Cathy R. Cook, Attorneys at Law, we bring both to the table, ensuring your child’s future is in capable hands.
Understanding Child Support in Ohio
Child support is the financial contribution one parent provides to the other for the basic needs of their child. It includes, , including (but not limited to), basic necessities like:
- Food and clothing
- Medical expenses
- Health care
- Child care
Generally speaking, Cincinnati child support orders don’t include expenses like the following:
- Extracurricular activities
- Summer camps
Should your child need any of these expenses, you and the other parent can agree on them or the court may deviate support to provide for them. .
Determining Child Support: Factors Considered
Ohio employs a specific child support formula. It begins by combining the gross income of both parents. From this gross income, each parent is permitted certain deductions, including but not limited to:
- Spousal support payments (both paid or received)
- Support for other children not part of the case
- Health insurance costs
- Work-related child care costs
Once these deductions are applied, you have the adjusted gross income. This income is matched to a state-approved chart, which indicates the required support amount based on the parent’s combined income bracket. The parent responsible for paying the support will contribute their proportional share, which is directly deducted from their paycheck. The amount is held in a state account and then disbursed to the receiving parent.
Deviation from the Guidelines
In some cases, the guideline figure might not be in the child’s best interest. The court can reduce the guideline amount by considering ‘deviation factors’ such as the amount of time the children spend with each parent and any significant travel expenses. The court can also increase the amount by considering the special needs of the children. These factors are unique to each case and applied at the court’s discretion.
Exceeding the Guidelines
For parents whose combined income surpasses $150,000 annually, the standard chart doesn’t apply. In such instances, the court will decide whether the guideline amount is sufficient or if the support should be increased based on the child’s needs and accustomed standard of living.
The Role of a Cincinnati Child Support Lawyer
Child support laws can be confusing and the appropriate amount can involve many factors not directly addressed on the child support worksheet. . This is where a Cincinnati child support lawyer can help.
- Advocating for Fair Calculations: A child support lawyer strives to make sure that the child support calculations are equitable, reflecting the genuine needs of the child and the financial capabilities of both parents. This involves a careful review of incomes, expenses, and other relevant factors to achieve a just and accurate calculation.
- Helping With Enforcement: If a parent defaults on their obligations, a support lawyer can take measures on behalf of the other parent to protect the child’s financial stability.
- Assistance with Modifications: Life is full of change, from job losses to significant shifts in income or unforeseen expenses. When these changes impact a parent’s ability to pay or the child’s financial needs, child support orders may need revisiting. A Cincinnati child support lawyer can help you modify an existing order to better suit the altered circumstances.
- Representation in Disputes: Disagreements over child support are not uncommon. In such instances, having a knowledgeable lawyer by your side in court becomes indispensable.
How Can a Child Support Order be Modified?
Over time, personal circumstances change, and the initial child support calculations may no longer fit the realities of either parent’s situation. Recognizing this reality, Ohio has provisions for modifying child support orders.
Common reasons for modification include:
- Loss of a job or significant reduction in income
- Substantial increase in income
- Sudden medical emergencies or disability
- Changes in child custody arrangements or the child’s needs
There are two ways to seek modification of an existing child support order.
An Administrative Review With The Child Support Enforcement Agency
Parents can request a review if the existing order has been in effect for three years or more, or if there’s been a significant change in their financial situation. This involves contacting their local CSEA office. During this review, a CSEA caseworker will evaluate any changes in financial circumstances to determine if a modification is necessary. If the decision is unsatisfactory to either parent, they have the option to file a motion in court. While this is a free service, the downside is not seeing the other parent’s submissions to the agency.
Asking The Court For A Child Support Modification
Filing a motion with the court is necessary when:
- It has been less than 36 months since the existing support order was established and there has been no income change.
- One or both parents disagree with the CSEA’s determination.
To seek a court modification, the parent must file a motion with the same court that issued the original child support order. This involves filling out the required paperwork detailing the change in circumstances. Once filed, the other party is notified, and a hearing date is set. The judge will review the evidence and, if warranted, issue a modified child support order.
How Are Child Support Orders Enforced in Cincinnati?
When a parent fails to pay the required support, the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) in Cincinnati has several measures they can deploy to encourage compliance and retrieve any missed payments. The enforcement tools at their disposal include:
Credit Reporting: Delinquent child support payments can negatively impact a parent’s credit score, making it more challenging to secure loans or credit cards.
- Suspension of Driver’s License: A delinquent parent can have their Ohio issued license suspended.
- Suspension of Professional Licensing: A delinquent parent could see their professional licenses, such as those for practicing medicine or law, temporarily suspended until payments are resumed.
- Increase Withholding: The amount withheld from a parent’s wages can be increased to account for and catch up on past-due support.
- Employment Orders: Parents without an income or assets can be ordered to seek employment to fulfill their support obligations.
- Intercepting Winnings: If the parent has any casino or Ohio lottery winnings, these can be intercepted to cover the missed child support payments.
Should the above measures not yield results, the court can step in to further ensure compliance. Courts in Cincinnati can find a parent in contempt for various reasons, including:
- Failing to follow the child support order’s provisions.
- Disobeying any court order or judgment.
When a parent is held in contempt, they will have to pay the other parent’s attorney fees. They will also be subject to jail time if they fail to timely purge their contempt by bringing the order current. Questions? Speak to a Cincinnati Child Support Lawyer Today!
Will I pay or receive child support?
Child support is based on a formula that considers each parent’s gross income, child care expenses and health insurance costs. The parent who has the children the majority of the time generally receives child support. If the parents share equal time, the parent who makes more generally pays child support.
Do we have to exchange child support?
No. Parents can agree to provide support to their children in direct ways rather than pay support from one to the other. This would include such things as both parents paying for clothes, school fees, and activities.
How is child support paid?
Child support is taken directly from the parent’s employment pay check, placed into an account with the state of Ohio, and then paid out to the receiving parent. If a parent is not employed, they must establish a bank account from which support is withdrawn by the state.
What if a parent is not paying support?
When a parent does not pay a support order, the other parent can file a motion for contempt. If the parent is found in contempt, he or she will be ordered to pay some of the attorney fees incurred in filing the motion. If the arrearage of support is substantial, the parent not receiving support can ask the Child Support Enforcement Agency to pursue contempt, for which they do not charge.
How does child support change after divorce?
Child support can be reviewed upon a change of circumstances. This could include an increase or decrease in one parent’s income or the cost of child care, or emancipation of a child. This review can be accomplished by the parties voluntarily exchanging information or by filing a motion with the court. In addition, the Child Support Enforcement Agency will review support for free once every 3 years or upon the loss of employment, if a parent requests a review.
While the rules governing child support in Ohio can seem overwhelming, it’s important to keep the ultimate goal in mind: a stable and promising future for your children. If you have questions, concerns, or need assistance, Cathy R. Cook, Attorneys at Law, is here to help. With decades of experience and a deep commitment to children’s rights, our team will work to ensure that your child receives the support they rightfully deserve.
Your child’s well-being is paramount; let a Cincinnati child support lawyer help you secure the consistent financial support they need. For more information or to schedule a free phone consultation, call Cathy R. Cook, Attorneys at Law at (513) 241-4029 or contact us online today.
For an extensive discussion on child support, see the Child Support Report.