Changing Child Support — Is It Worth Hiring An Attorney

The first question to consider when thinking about whether or not it is worth hiring an attorney when a changing child support Order is…, it depends on how much money is it issue.  When thinking about the “how much” question, it is also important to remember to consider the “how long”, because the child support costs can really add up over the years.  For example, if someone is paying or receiving   $700.00 dollars per month child support, and the child is 6 years old, then the child support amount at issue is $8,400 per year for 12 years or $100,800.00 tax free dollars to the recipient, and “after-tax” dollars from the person who is paying.  The amount of child support that is Ordered, and how it is determined and changed, is one of the most common topics which arise when dealing with parental rights and obligations.  While Ohio Courts utilize the Ohio Child Support Guidelines for purposes of setting child support, child support calculations are not necessarily “one size fits all”.   The Ohio Revised Code provides specific rules for deviations from what the child support guidelines indicate, under certain circumstances.

Ohio Child Support Guidelines Worksheet

There are currently two child support guideline worksheets found in the ORC, one for cases involving a sole obligor (person who is paying) and those cases involving a shared parenting order (§3119.022), and one for cases where the parents have at least two children and custody is split between them (§3119.023). The use of these worksheets is mandatory statewide in all courts and administrative agencies that establish child support orders. The worksheets aggregate income information from both parents and apply a series of adjustments to an annual support amount derived from the basic schedule of obligations. Factors within the current worksheets that lead to an adjustment of the schedule amount include, for example, local taxes, child care expenditures,the cost of health insurance, means tested benefits, among others.  If you would like to see the actual Ohio Revised Code sections that deal with all issues involving child support you can click this link.  http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/3119.

Changing Child Support — Through the Court

The amount of Child Support is modifiable under certain circumstances and through a variety of methods. When there is no voluntary agreement between the parents, the party seeking the change must request a Court hearing to Modify Child Support.  Prior to the hearing, the parties have the opportunity to conduct “discovery”, to conduct depositions and obtain relevant financial information from the opposing party.  This approach is often times necessary when one side is not honest about their income.  At the hearing in front of the Judge or Magistrate, each each side will present, usually through their attorney, the reasons supporting or opposing the change or modification of Support. The Court usually will not grant the request unless there has been some fairly significant change in circumstances that justifies the change, such as a significant increase or decrease in either parent’s income through a remarriage or job change or a substantial change in the financial needs of the child.  Changes in the child support laws, too, may justify a change in previously issued Orders.  Of course, the simplest method is for the parents to agree to a change, but the Court must approve even an agreed-upon change in order to be legally enforceable.

Changing Child Support Through CSEA

Generally, CSEA will conduct a review of a child support obligation every three 3 years, or if one party or the other asserts that there has been change in combined incomes of 30% or more.  It is very common for individuals to go through this process without attorney’s, however, if there are any unusual or complex issues involved in your case, it is highly recommended that experienced legal counsel be consulted to properly assess the issues and evidence necessary to achieve a fair outcome. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services prepares and files  a Child Support Guidelines Review Report to the State of Ohio General Assembly.  It provides a summary of what the child support law is, and suggests modifications and adjustments moving forward. To review the 2013 Report please clink the link here http://jfs.ohio.gov/Ocs/pdf/2013CSGuidelinesAdvCouncilReport.stm.

At the Law Office of Anthony W. Greco, we understand the financial stress and emotional frustration that individuals and families often deal with when examining issues of Changing Custody and Child Support. That is why it is important to have an attorney who has extensive experience in aggressively representing individuals who are faced with the issue of Changing Child Support.  One of the most important decisions you will make when taking your first legal step, is to find an attorney who can counsel, advise and fight for your goals, and explain the process and strategy in an understandable, practical and effective manner.   Anthony Greco is committed to providing each and every Client with professional, aggressive and practical representation, while being sensitive to the Client’s unique concerns and goals. With more than 23 years of experience, our firm is equipped to deal with all issues involved in changing custody and child support matters, from the first day of our representation through the last day of trial.

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