How Much Child Support You Are Entitled To?

August 6, 2016

child support lawyer Columbus Ohio

Child support payments reflect many variables, including the income and financial resources of both parents, the cost of ensuring the child receives adequate health care, and how many children the person making the payments supports. Since each of those factors will differ from child to child and couple to couple, no Columbus, Ohio, child support lawyer can give you a definitive answer to a question phrased as “How much child support will my ex have to pay?” 

Calculating Child Support Requires Full Disclosure From Both Parents 

One essential truth to bear in mind when seeking child support is that the money is paid for the child’s benefit. It should be used to house, feed, clothe, educate, and entertain the child, and also to pay the child’s medical expenses. Ohio laws on child support and the rules family law judges follow to issue child support orders are written to put the child’s needs first. 

You must also understand that either birth parent can be ordered to pay child support. The parents do not need to have been married, and an order to pay child support may remain in effect if the original custodial parent loses custody. Again, the payments are for the child’s benefit and follow the child from home to home. 

Information needed to calculate the amount of and schedule for child support payments includes the following: 

  • Income and employment history for the custodial parent
  • Income and employment history for the noncustodial parent
  • Investments and savings for both parents
  • Rent or mortgage payments on the child’s full-time residence
  • Health status of both parents, the child, and the child’s siblings who share his or her home
  • Insurance coverage for the child
  • Special needs of the child (e.g., developmental disorders, chronic diseases)
  • Child support payments currently being made by both parents
  • Spousal support currently being paid by both parents
  • Cash contributions the noncustodial parent is already making to the child’s care and upkeep 

If you plan to ask for child support, collect and share all this information with your lawyer. Getting the information from your child’s other parent may require filing requests with a court to compel discovery (i.e., force him or her to either turn over bank records, pay stubs, etc. or face legal consequences). 

A Note on Medical Support 

Ohio requires a parent who pays child support to include an amount that covers part of the child’s health care. This medical support requirement can be met by placing the child on a health insurance policy, contributing toward insurance premiums on a policy held by the custodial parent, or paying cash for doctor visits. A judge can set a separate medical support payment amount and schedule while determining other forms of child support. 

Enforcing and Modifying a Child Support Order 

Child support payments can be negotiated between parents, but only a court’s order will be legally enforceable. Missing child support payments subjects a person to wage garnishment, asset seizure, driver’s license suspension, and jail. However, those enforcement mechanisms will only be available if you work with a caring and skilled child support lawyer to have a judge sign off on the arrangement. Family courts in Ohio have little authority to enforce an oral contract or general understanding. 

Obtaining a court’s order for child support also makes it easier to modify the agreement in ways that benefit both parents and the child. A change in employment, legal troubles, moving out of state, and illness can all affect a noncustodial parent’s ability to meet child support obligations. Having a legal contract to negotiate goes a long way toward preventing complete default and, in a worst-case scenario, incarceration. 

Contact Edward F. Whipps & Associates to learn more about child support. You can schedule an appointment with a family law attorney online or by calling (614) 461-6006.

 

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