Pulling Numbers Out of a Hat: How We Calculate Child Support

On the surface, calculating child support in the state of Ohio seems fairly easy. The state has an official formula and an official worksheet, and there are numerous programs available online to calculate what should be the result. Yet, time and time again, the order from the court will not match this calculation and leave both parents scratching their heads.  

What are the basics of child support in Ohio? 

The calculation of child support starts with a Child Support Computation Worksheet, which will create what is called the “guideline” amount. This guideline uses several factors that are established in the Ohio Revised Code to ensure uniformity and consistency in child support orders across the state. In order to reach the guideline amount of support, we take each parent’s income, combine them, and deduct specific expenses (e.g., childcare, insurance, other court orders, some taxes, some expenses incurred as part of employment). We use that resulting number and apply the comparative difference of each parent’s income – the result is the guideline support payable from the obligor (parent paying) to the obligee (parent receiving).  

Yet, in practice, child support will almost never match what is provided by the guideline, and it shouldn’t. Each child has unique needs, and each parent has unique resources, so each order should consider those factors carefully. At White Law Office, Co., our team of experienced attorneys has the skill and expertise needed to help ensure that your child support order is the right fit for your individual circumstances.    

What are some factors that may impact child support? 

There are multiple factors that can cause changes from the guidelines; these factors are called deviations. There are 15 specific deviation factors allowed for under the law and 1 additional deviation factor that allows the court to consider whatever it deems relevant. These deviations range from costs incurred for the child by only one parent, to extracurricular and travel expenses, to expenses related to the special needs of the child. Courts will also grant a deviation based on the number of overnights each parent has with the child.  

In addition to the statutory deviation factors, there are other reasons a Court may choose to deviate from the guidelines. The Court may question the income of either party; often, tips and their tax reporting become an issue in these situations, as does a parent who is intentionally underemployed. The combined income of the parents could exceed the amounts envisioned by the worksheet, forcing the Court to guess what the guidelines should be. Sometimes, the Court will consider the travel distance of the parties, or other similar unique circumstances, to craft a specific deviation that can only apply to that situation.  

How can EQUES Law Group Help? 

Having an attorney who knows which factors to consider, and how to argue them, will change the guideline support amount to a level that is more in harmony with your needs and resources. With over 50 years of legal experience, EQUES Law Group has the expertise needed to help you navigate the world of child support and other custody matters. By getting to know you, and understanding your unique circumstances, we will work tirelessly to bring about the best result for your child as well as yourself. We look forward to sitting down with you to discuss all of your legal needs.  

Robert M. Barga

Attorney At Law

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