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 truly 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 gray 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 complex. 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, child care expenses, etc.). A Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) is can assist you with calculation and/or check your assumptions.
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 a future adjustment is appropriate. Additional information for adjustments within the State of Ohio can be found here. For resources outside of Ohio, click here.
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 just need to provide an explanation for 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 gives you the opportunity to think about what is in the best interest of your family and make decisions accordingly.