How is Child Support Calculated in Ohio?
Posted In: Family Law   | Posted by: Arenstein & Anderson Co., LPA
Making sure child support is calculated correctly and fairly should concern both parents. It is imperative that you have an experienced domestic relations lawyer to advise you on how child support is calculated and the outside factors that may increase or reduce a child support obligation.
In the State of Ohio, child support is calculated based on guidelines established by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. The child support amount is calculated utilizing a form that is called the “Child Support Computation Worksheet”, which was designed by the Ohio legislature to ensure the consistency of child support orders and to make the calculation process more efficient. The worksheet for sole residential parent or shared parenting situations can be found in Ohio Revised Code Section 3119.022and the worksheet for split parental rights and responsibility situations can be found in Ohio Revised Code Section 3119.023.
The Child Support Calculation Worksheet requests the income and expense information from one parent and compares that information to the income and expenses of the other parent. Income is considered from most sources, including wages, self-employment, a modified profit and loss computation, unemployment, disability, workers’ compensation, and interest and dividends. Expenses include medical and healthcare expenses, costs of certain other children, spousal support, income taxes, and certain employer required expenses.
The Child Support Computation Worksheet will produce a statutorily “fair” number that represents the child support payable from one parent to the other. A majority of the time, courts will require that this number be used with little or no deviation. That being said, courts do have limited discretion to alter the number calculated. In order to deviate from the guidelines, a court must specifically spell out its reason for the deviation and the deviation must be in the best interests of the child or children.
One common deviation from the computed amount occurs when a parent ordered to pay child support has been awarded parenting time in excess of the standard visitation parenting order, typically set by local rule for the county in which the matter is heard.
Another common child support issue arises when one parent is unemployed or underemployed. The definition of “income” provided by the Ohio Revised Code is the (1) gross income of a parent employed full-time and (2) any potential income. Sometimes one parent may be either unemployed or working at a full-time position that earns below the amount of pay that the parent is capable of earning when considering their background, education, and earnings history (referred to as “underemployed”). In the event that a court finds that one parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, the court may impute income to that parent for child support calculation purposes.
Getting child support determined correctly the first time is imperative to avoiding additional costs and wasted time to change it in the future. It is also important to monitor the other parent’s earnings to ensure that they are not voluntarily unemployed or underemployed. As such, it is vital to have an experienced domestic relations attorney assist you with child support matters, both at the beginning and as circumstances change over time.
About Arenstein & Andersen Co., LPA
Arenstein & Andersen Co., LPA is a Dublin, Ohio law firm that provides comprehensive representation in all areas of domestic law including: divorces, dissolutions, annulments, shared parenting plans, and post-decree matters such as child support, alimony, and visitation modifications.