Changing Child Support — Is It Worth Hiring An Attorney?

One of the first questions many ask our Columbus, Ohio firm when they are considering whether to hire an attorney or not, is “How much money is actually at risk?”  Some will think it may not be worth the expense of an attorney, and that they would be better off attempting to handle this themselves.  However, when thinking about how much money is at risk, it is not only important to think about the monthly payment, but also how long the support lasts for.  This is important to consider because child support can really add up over the years.

For example, if someone is paying or receiving $700.00 per month in 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 total.  And if the support is $1,000.00 per month for the same child, that becomes $144,000.00 total.

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, throughout the state, including including Franklin County in Columbus, utilize the Ohio Child Support Guidelines for purposes of setting child support, this does not mean that child support calculations are “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 Ohio Revised Code.  The first one is for cases involving a sole payor or those cases involving a shared parenting order (§3119.022).  The second one is 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.  This means that regardless of the county or city you are in, Columbus and Franklin County, to Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, the worksheets are consistent.  The worksheets record 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.

Change Through the Court

The amount of Child Support is modifiable under certain circumstances and through a variety of methods.  When there is no agreement between parents, the party seeking the change must request the Court modify child support.  Prior to the hearing, the parties have the opportunity to conduct “discovery”.  The discovery process permits the parties to conduct depositions and obtain relevant financial information from the opposing party.  The discovery approach is often necessary when one side is not honest about their income.  At the Court hearing, each each side will present the reasons supporting or opposing the change or modification of support.  The Court usually will not grant the request unless there has been some change in circumstances that justifies it.  This change can come in a number of ways, including a significant increase or decrease in either parent’s income, or a change in the financial needs of the child.

Change Through CSEA

Generally, the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) will conduct a review of a child support obligation every three 3 years, or if one party asserts a change in combined incomes of the parties totaling 30% or more.  While many go through this process without counsel, if there are any unusual or complex issues in your case, we recommend obtaining experienced legal counsel.

Change to the Law

Ohio’s child support laws have remained relatively untouched over the past few years, however, a change to the child support statutes has occurred recently.  This means that one’s previous child support order may be eligible for a change.  This change included substantial modifications to consider those who qualify as high-asset or high-net worth individuals.  These changes could affect anyone living in Ohio, from Columbus to the furthest corners of the state.  Click Here to read more about these changes.

Contact Us

At the Law Office of Anthony W. Greco, we understand the difficulty that individuals and families often face when examining issues of Custody and Child Support.  That is why our clients appreciate having an attorney with extensive experience in aggressively representing their interests.  We work with our clients to provide them the advice they need, and the legal performance they deserve.  We explain the process and strategy to every client, keeping them involved the entire way.

Attorney Greco provides every Client with aggressive and effective representation, while remaining sensitive to their unique concerns and goals.  We have over 25 years of experience in Columbus, regularly addressing all issues involved in custody and child support matters.  We fight for our clients, from the first day of representation through trial.  Contact the Law Office of Anthony W. Greco to see what sets us apart from other firms.  Click Here to contact us.

New Child Support in Ohio