Child Support: An Overview
When parents divorce or separate, determining child support terms is one of the most contentious issues a parent can face. Whichever parent is recognized as the child’s legal custodian, both parties have a legal obligation to financially support their child. Identifying fair terms can be difficult because there is such significant financial and emotional importance placed on the subject.
The legal aspects of the child support process can add another layer of complexity to this family law issue. Whether you are interested in obtaining a child support order, modifying an order or enforcing an order, our lawyers at Baker & Wick, LLC, have the necessary experience that you need to secure full and fair child support. As your legal allies, we will advise with compassion and skill, working to simplify the child support process so that you can put this matter behind you.
Calculating Child Support
Child support is calculated using the Ohio Child Support Guidelines, which is based upon several factors. The primary factors taken into consideration when calculating child support are:
- The income of both parents
- The number of dependents that each parent has
- The cost of health care insurance coverage for the children
- Work-related day care costs for the children
These factors are used to determine the presumed amount of child support pursuant to the Ohio Child Support Worksheet.
Once the presumed amount is determined, the parents may deviate from the amount, either to an amount greater or less than the presumed amount. If the parents cannot reach an agreement, they may need the court to intervene.
In addition to child support, courts may order the parties to divide any uncovered medical expenses, extracurricular activities and school fees. The court will determine an equitable division of these expenses based on the parents’ incomes, any child support paid and the particular circumstances of the case. Child care can be included in the child support amount to be paid or it can be divided by a percentage between the parents outside of child support as well.
The Duration Of Child Support
In most cases, child support orders stay in effect until the child turns 18, or until the child graduates from high school, whichever occurs last. There are certain situations where child support can continue past these dates.
However, a child support order cannot remain in effect after a child reaches 19 years of age unless:
- The child is mentally or physically disabled and is incapable of supporting or maintaining himself or herself
- The parents have agreed to continue support beyond the child’s 18th birthday pursuant to an agreed court order
Modifying Child Support Orders
Child support orders can be modified:
- Whenever the parents agree
- When there is a substantial change in either parents’ financial circumstances
- When the children’s financial needs change, which may include an increase in child care costs or medical expenses
- When custody or parenting time agreements are modified
To begin the modification process, either parent must file a motion to modify child support with the court. A parent’s County Child Support Enforcement Agency may also be able to conduct a review hearing for a parent to determine whether a modification is warranted.
At Baker & Wick, LLC, we understand how overwhelming it can be to try to negotiate, modify or enforce child support terms on your own. We are ready to help you through this ordeal. Do not hesitate to connect with us so that you can discuss your concerns.