OhioChild Support Laws
Ohio Child Support Guide :: Table of Contents
Child support is an ongoing payment by a non-custodial parent to assist with the financial support of their children. Child support payments are often determined during the process of dissolution of a marriage through divorce, though the only requirements for requesting child support payments are establishment of paternity and maternity.
Child support is handled on a state level, and Ohio has a set of specific child support guidelines. On this page you can learn about how child support is calculated in Ohio, how custody split and extraordinary costs affect child support payments, and more.
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Ohio uses the "income share" method for calculating child support payments, which is designed to ensure that both the custodial and non-custodial parents contribute to their child's upkeep.
In the event of parents sharing custody of a child, the Ohio judge who sets child support may deviate from the basic child support formula to account for this. Other special situations accounted for under Ohio's child support law include childcare costs and extraordinary medical costs. These costs may be additions to the basic Ohio child support order.
What is Classified as Gross Income?”Gross income” is the total of all earned and unearned income from all sources during the calendar year, whether or not the income is taxable, and includes income from salaries, wages, overtime pay, and bonuses; commissions; royalties; tips; rents; dividends; severance pay; pensions; interest; trust income; annuities; social security benefits,
Including retirement, disability, and survivor benefits; workers’ compensation benefits; unemployment insurance benefits; disability insurance benefits; benefits that are not means-tested and that are received in the possession of the veteran who is the beneficiary for any service-connected disability under a program or law administered by the United States department of veterans’ affairs or veterans’ administration; spousal support actually received; and all other sources of income.
“Gross income” does not include any of the following:
- Benefits received from means-tested government administered programs (Ohio works first, prevention, retention, and contingency, means-tested veterans’ benefits, supplemental security income, supplemental nutrition assistance program, disability financial assistance, or other assistance that is means-tested)
- Benefits for any disability relating to military service under a program or law through the department of veterans’ affairs that is not means-tested, that have not been distributed to the veteran who is the beneficiary, and are in the possession of the United States department of veterans’ affairs
- Child support received for children who were not born or adopted during the marriage in question
- Amounts paid for mandatory deductions from wages such as union dues but not taxes, social security, or retirement in lieu of social security
- Nonrecurring or unsustainable income or cash flow items
- Adoption assistance and foster care maintenance payments
“Potential income” means both of the following for a parent who the court or child support agency determines is voluntarily unemployed or voluntarily underemployed:
Imputed income that the court or agency determines the parent would have earned if fully employed as determined from the following criteria:
- prior employment experience
- physical and mental disabilities, if applicable
- The availability of employment in the geographic area of residence
- The wage and salary levels in the geographic area of residence
- special skills and training
- If there is evidence that the parent has the ability to earn the imputed income
- The age and special needs of the child for whom child support is being calculated
- increased earning capacity due to experience
- Any other relevant factors
Child support can be arranged out of court by a mutual support agreement between the parents, or can be decided in Ohio family court through a child support order. In Ohio, a number of factors are taken into account when determining the amount of child support to be paid in court. Here is an explanation of the two most common methods used to calculate basic child support amounts.
Income Share Method
Under the income share model, the court uses economic tables to estimate the total monthly cost of raising the children. The non-custodial parent pays a percentage of the calculated cost that is based on their proportional share of both parents' combined income.
Example: The non-custodial parent of one child has an income of $2,000 per month, and the custodial parent has an income of $1,000 per month. The court estimates that the cost of raising one child is $1,000 a month. The non-custodial parent's income is 66.6% of the parent's total combined income. Therefore, the non-custodial parent pays $666 per month in child support, or 66.6% of the total child support obligation.
Percentage Of Income Method
This method of calculating child support is simple - a set percentage of the non-custodial parent's income is paid monthly to the custodial parent to cover basic child support expenses. The percentage paid may stay the same, or vary if the non-custodial parent's income changes.
Example: The non-custodial parent of one child has an income of $2,000 per month. The court orders a flat percentage of 25% of the non-custodial parent's income to be paid in child support to the custodial parent. Therefore, the non-custodial parent pays $500 per month in child support. If the non-custodial parent's monthly income changes, the dollar amount they pay in child support will change as well.
Ohio Child Support FAQ
- How does having shared custody of the child affect child support in Ohio?
- How are extraordinary medical costs treated by child support in Ohio?
- How are child care costs treated by child support in Ohio?
- Does child support cover college education expenses in Ohio?
- How is child support enforced in Ohio?
- What are child support arrears?
- How are child support payments taxed in Ohio?
How does having shared custody of the child affect child support in Ohio?
All states have a method of modifying the amount of child support owed in cases where the custody agreement provides for joint or shared custody of a child between both parents.
Ohio law allows the judge overseeing the child support order to use a shared custody agreement as justification for a variation from the state's general child support calculations. This means that if the non-custodial parent shares parenting time with the custodial parent, the judge might reduce the amount of child support owed to account for the resources spent by the non-custodial parent during their time with the child.
How are extraordinary medical costs treated by child support in Ohio?
Ohio has specialized guidelines for the sharing of a child's extraordinary medical care costs that are separate from, and in addition to, basic child support payments. Extraordinary medical costs are generally costs generated by things such as illness, hospital visits, or costly procedures such as getting braces.
How are child care costs treated by child support in Ohio?
Due to the high costs of child care for a single payment, Ohio has specialized guidelines that consider child care costs separately from the general costs of raising a child for the purposes of calculating child support payments.
Does child support cover college education expenses in Ohio?
While the state of Ohio has no explicit requirement for college expenses to be covered under child support, support for college expense by the non-custodial parent may be voluntarily agreed to by both parties, after which it is contractually enforceable.
How is child support enforced in Ohio?
In the state of Ohio, child support is enforced by the state child support agency. The state agency handles the location of non-custodial parents, enforcement of support orders, and the handling of unpaid child support arrears.
What are child support arrears?
Child support arrears are the amount of child support that is delinquent, or unpaid, by the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent. Child support arrears may be collected by the state through wage garnishment, bank levy. withholding of Ohio welfare benefits, or other collection methods.
How are child support payments taxed in Ohio?
Under IRS guidelines, the recepient of child support does not need to pay federal tax on child support payments, and the payer of child support cannot deduct their child support payments. This differs from the federal taxation of alimony payments, which are treated as taxable income by the receiver and are deductible by the payor. Ohio tax law may vary on tax treatment of child support.