How Much is Child Support in Ohio?

How Much is Child Support in Ohio?
March 14, 2023

When parents divorce, a key consideration should be how the upset will affect any children. Collaborative or not, the process is naturally an upheaval of their normal lives. Child custody will be granted based on a variety of factors, and in most cases children will still be able to build healthy relationships with their parents, but it goes without saying that things will not be the same. 

That is true about the time they get to spend with their parents, and it is also true when it comes to household income levels. This is why understanding child support is so important for divorcing parents as they work with a child custody attorney to work the right provisions into their official divorce decree.

Why Child Support?

Whether parents share custody evenly or one parent has full custody, supplemental funds are typically needed to give the child the same quality of life they would have had if their parents had stayed together. In Ohio, as in every state, the ultimate goal of child support laws is to provide what is in the best interest of children whose parents choose to divorce. 

For married couples, the law assumes that the husband is also the father and the wife is the natural mother. Even in the case of unmarried couples, the very fact that the mother gives birth proves their maternity. However, paternity will first need to be proven in order for a child support order to be enacted. Establishing paternity will also allow an unmarried father to advocate for their custody rights.

How Child Support is Determined in Ohio

Ohio state laws prescribe to the Income Share Method of determining child support amounts. In this model, courts use simple equations that incorporate each parent’s total monthly income and the estimated monthly cost to raise a child. Incomes are compared to the estimated child-rearing expenses, and they are then divided accordingly. 

So, for example, if a non-custodial parent makes twice as much in a month as the custodial parent, then they should expect to pay twice as much. That works out to roughly two-thirds of the total estimated cost to raise a child. If it costs $1,000 a month to cover child-rearing expenses, then the non-custodial parent who brings in more income can expect to pay a larger percentage, about 66.6%, or $666 per month. The custodial parent would be responsible for the remaining 33.4%, or roughly $334. The amounts live on a sliding scale, based on each parent’s percentage of income.

Factors that Affect Cost

Total monthly income is the most obvious factor that will affect the percentage of child support for which you will be held responsible. That said, there are some additional factors surrounding employment that will come into play:

  • Willful unemployment or underemployment (seen as potential income)
  • Unintentional unemployment or underemployment
  • Self-employment income and expenses
  • New employment
  • Annual salary

Beyond financial information, your child’s specific needs, be them medical, educational, or otherwise, will also be taken into consideration when deciding on an adequate monthly amount of total support. That sum will inevitably affect your monthly child support payment. If you also have children in your current or another past relationship, this can also affect how much financial responsibility you will carry. 

Joint Physical Custody and Child Support

In a completely equal situation, where parents care for their children equal days and spend equal time with their children while also having equal income, child support may not be necessary. But this is rarely the case. Instead, individual parents’ income amounts could vary drastically. What may be easily affordable for one could be a hardship for the other. So while time spent may be close to equal, the expenses incurred for caring for their child could be disproportionately high or low, based on their respective income levels. 

That’s why courts will often treat custody and child support decisions as distinct considerations. So a parent who shares joint custody may still be required to pay child support. This is especially true if parenting time is not shared 50/50–the parent who spends the most time with their child will generally be required to pay less toward total support costs. This is because they will naturally incur additional costs as they spend more time caring for their child. In most cases, the parent who brings in a higher income will be expected to pay a higher amount of child care costs. 

There are plenty of complications to factor in when determining child support amounts. Working with an experienced child custody attorney will ensure that your rights are protected and that your child receives the support they need.

Changes to Ohio’s Child Support Laws

On March 28th, 2019, House Bill 366 was approved, changing how child support in Ohio is calculated. Key adjustments include the factoring of both gross income and imputed income–”fringe benefits” from an employer–into a parent’s total income. For parents whose income sits below 116% of the federal poverty level, they may be entitled to lower child support payments. Those who receive both SSI and SSDI could be eligible for a modification. Standard minimum payments increased from $50 to $80 a month, and for parents who care for their children at least 90 nights (roughly ¼ of the year), the new law allows for a 10% reduction in their annual child support obligation.

Work With a Seasoned Child Custody Attorney

Divorce is always difficult, but ensuring that your child receives as much time, attention, and resources as possible is one way to help them through the transition. Child support is a way for the state to provide for your child’s needs and take any overwhelming financial burden off of the custodial parent. 

At the Law Offices Of Cara L. Santosuosso, LLC, our experienced collaborative divorce lawyers and child custody attorneys always have your child’s best interest at heart. When they help you to acquire the support you need to successfully raise your child, you can be sure that you have a powerful advocate on your side. Reach out today and get in touch with our team to learn more about our legal services, and schedule a free consultation.