The Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS) administrates the child support system. ODJFS published a manual for calculating child support. The manual answers many questions and should be referenced when performing a calculation. Child Support Manual. The manual provides a line-by-line guide for child support worksheets.

In Ohio, child support is determined by combining the gross income of both parents on a worksheet. The worksheet is absolutely required in every case, even if the parents agree not to exchange child support. Parents who pay or receive child support are required to pay through the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS). Each parent will want to sign up for access to their account through the Child Support Portal.  Every county in the State of Ohio has an office of the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA). To begin exploring Ohio’s child support system, a parent should visit the ODJFS Office of Child Support .   Ohio developed an app for smart phones that allow parents to view their accounts and make payments.

The worksheet has 29 lines and fits on two pages. Lines 1-8 ask about income. The term “gross income” for purposes of child support is even broader than the definition used by the IRS.  Everything a parent gets is included; overtime, bonuses and commissions are averaged. “Gross Income” for child support purposes is the largest possible number. You can find the definitions section of the statute, O.R.C. 3119.01 in this link.

Lines 9-13 address adjustments to income and include things like support for other children, the out-of-pocket cost for the parent who provides health insurance for the children, and other court ordered spousal support.

Ohio uses the “Income Shares” model for determining child support. Lines 14-17 result in a ratio of each parent’s combined adjusted income (ie the share of income for each parent). Line 17 tells each parent their share of the total support.

Basic Child Support is determined from a formula. The formula addresses combined gross incomes up to a maximum of $336,000.00/yr . Family Law Software offers a FREE child support calculator on its website.  All of the lawyers at Zoller|Biacsi are proficient using Family Law Software.

In March of 2019 Ohio updated its child support guidelines for the first time in 26 years!  There were many changes, including changes to the former table to catch up with inflation. Many people think the inclusion of a parenting time adjustment to the basic amount of child support was the biggest, most important part of that new law.  Line 19 addresses parenting time.  In general, a parent who has 90 or more overnights per year receives a 10% adjustment downward in the amount of their support payment. If there are more than 147 overnights, it is expected that there would be some additional, substantial adjustment.

Line 20 considers benefits a child might be receiving because of a parent’s disability as well as non-means tested public benefits received by a parent or custodian on behalf of the child.

Lines 21 and 22 are really a worksheet within the worksheet and they include consideration of work- related childcare expenses (Daycare). The guideline worksheet applies the ratio from line 17 to the cost of daycare and attributes the result to each parent.

Cash medical support (Line 23) is intended to cover the basic uncovered costs of health care for children and, again, line 17 is applied to the cash medical support number ($388.70 per child). This is a tricky item to deal with and many people deviate from the cash medical support amount to zero and agree to share in uncovered medical expenses of the child(ren) from the first dollar.

Finally, Lines 24-29 consider the recommended amount and any deviations that might apply to that amount because of several different reasons. There is room to deviate due to additional parenting time. There are 17 other reasons according to the law that might apply to deviations from the recommended amount of child support.  Line 29 is the bottom line. It tells you who pays how much in child support to the other party.

To learn more about the nuances of child support and to see multiple scenarios for your Child Support Guidelines worksheets, contact a member of Zoller|Biacsi now.

John D. Zoller, JD, CDFA