Who is responsible for child support?
When a child’s parents, either biological or adoptive, are no longer living together, child support can be ordered to be paid by either or both parents. If one parent is considered the residential parent and legal custodian, their child support will considered to be spent on the child. In cases of shared parenting, child support obligations will be offset, with the parent with the higher obligation ordered to pay the difference to the other parent.
How does the court determine who pays child support and at what amount?
To determine the amount of child support owed, the court will consider factors such as the current income and earning ability of each parent, child custody agreements, the health care and educational needs of the child, and other pertinent criteria. Child support is often calculated through a child support worksheet, but certain criteria or parental agreement can allow the court to deviate from those guidelines. Ohio family lawyer John Heilbrun can help you navigate this complex process and ensure both you and your child’s best interests are protected.
How long does a child support order stand?
Child support is generally paid until the child reaches the age of 18 or becomes legally emancipated. If a child is still in an accredited high school, support may continue beyond the 18th year. Support may also continue past the age of 18 if a child is deemed physically or mentally incapable of self-sufficiency. Support obligations remain consistent unless a modification is granted by the court.
How can child support be modified?
The court can grant a modification of child support if material changes for the child or parent occur that were not considered when the initial order was set. For example, changes in child custody, extraordinary medical expenses, or the birth of children in a new relationship may all be grounds of child support modification.
To modify an existing order, the court will use the same child support worksheet. If the recalculated amount is ten percent greater or less than the existing order, a modification will be issued.
What if a parent refuses to pay child support?
The parent ordered to pay child support will be found in contempt of court if he or she refuses to pay. When this occurs, the parent in default may be ordered to pay the costs of a contempt hearing and attorney’s fees in addition to any arrears in child support. If refusal to pay becomes consistent, the parent in default may be brought up on criminal charges and faced with fines and prison time.
Can I refuse to pay child support if the other parent is interfering with time I am supposed to spend with my child?
No. The court does not allow you to refuse to pay, escrow, or otherwise set aside child support payments to try to force the other parent to respect parenting agreements. Complaints about failure to adhere to parenting agreement have to be dealt with like other post-decree problems.
If you live in or around Cincinnati, Ohio and have questions about child support, please contact child support attorney John Heilbrun to schedule an appointment at our Hyde Park or Blue Ash office today.