UPDATE: OHIO IMPLEMENTED NEW CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES ON MARCH 28, 2019. THE RESOURCES BELOW REFLECT THESE CHANGES.
For those who have minor children at the time of a divorce, one party or the other will likely be paying child support (unless they genuinely share parenting 50/50 and make about the same amount of money). Child support is paid until the child reaches age 18 or graduates from high school, whichever happens last. There is some grey area when it comes to how to calculate child support in Ohio.
Many people think that Child Support calculations are black and white. In some cases, that may be. However, there are many cases in which the calculation can be a little more complicated. The State of Ohio offers worksheets as well as a manual for how to determine the appropriate inputs for the calculations. Links to the resources are below.
At the most basic level, child support is calculated based on the combined gross annual income of the mother and father and how much time each will spend with the children. However, determining the level of income and any appropriate adjustments is where we enter the gray area. Some of the line items that make the child support calculation a little trickier include overtime, bonuses, commissions, self-employment, interest, dividends, etc. Likewise, there are several line items to consider when adjusting the income calculation (e.g., spousal support, health insurance, work-related expenses, childcare expenses, etc.). A Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) can assist you with calculation and/or check your assumptions.
Related post: What is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst?
Since child support is based on a formula that includes both parents' income, medical insurance, childcare expenses, and the time that the child is with each parent, child support is not awarded in all cases. However, if child support is awarded of part of your settlement, it is handled through the Child Support Enforcement Agency, which will garnish wages to collect child support owed.
There are a variety of factors that are considered when determining who will pay child support. If there is a large discrepancy in income between the parents and the children spend more time with the lower-earning parent, then it is very likely the higher-earning parent who will be responsible for payments. However, because there are several variables considered in the child support calculator, it's not always the higher-earning parent who pays. For example, if the higher-earning parent is also the primary parent, then it could be the lower-earning parent who would be responsible for the child support payment.
A common question that I get regarding child support payments is related to future changes in income status. Either party can request a review of the child support order if an adjustment is appropriate.
As you may know, one of the great benefits of coming to agreements outside of Court is having greater control over those agreements. For example, you can deviate from the calculator. To do so, you need to explain the deviation. During mediation, I have seen couples make all kinds of changes to the calculations. One of the best things about mediation is it allows you to think about what is in the best interest of your family and make decisions accordingly.
Related post: 5 Mediation Strategies to Get What You Want
Related post: The Best Kept Secret of Mediation
Downloadable resource: What is Mediation? A Guide to an Affordable, Fair, and Amicable Ohio Divorce