Fewer Ohio Parents Going To Jail For Not Paying Child Support

In Ohio, the calculation of child support payments and the enforcement of support orders are governed by state statute. Under Ohio law, child support payments are calculated by a court or child support enforcement agency according to a formula. The child support payment formula combines both the parents' gross income. Certain deductions to the gross income total are permitted, such as court-ordered child or spousal support payments, mandatory work-related deductions, and local income taxes paid.

Once the total is calculated, factoring in any adjustments, the parents' combined gross income total is applied to the predetermined formula. For example, if the combined annual gross income is $54,000 then the child support obligation for one child would be $7,431 per year. Furthermore, each parent's child support obligation is proportional to the parent's gross income. Therefore, if the mother's gross income is $18,000 (33.3%) and the father's income is $36,000 (66.6%) then the mother would be responsible for about $2,477 and the father would be responsible for $4,954.

Fewer Parents Being Sent To Jail For Missed Child Support Payments

According to a recent article in the Norwalk Reflector, fewer "deadbeat parents" in Ohio are being sent to prison for not making required child support payments. Over the past six years, the number of offenders going to jail has decreased from 781 in 2008 to 342 in 2014. For taxpayers, this means saving money in prison costs and collection efforts.

The decrease in offenders can be attributed to various Ohio agencies working together and instituting community efforts in targeted counties. The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction has been working with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services to provide more information to parents about Ohio's child support program. These Ohio agencies increase awareness by visiting correctional facilities and meeting with inmates "to share information about fatherhood, child support and available job search assistance."

According to Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction's director Gary Mohr, "Ohio's recidivism rate is among the lowest in the nation, and partnerships [with other agencies] have helped to keep our recidivism rate low." Ohio has taken a progressive approach to help encourage non-paying parents comply with child support orders. In 2011, Ohio passed legislation that encourages judges to consider alternative punitive measures, such as sentencing offenders to probation or community service in lieu of prison.

Methods To Enforce Payment Of Child Support

If a parent fails to make payments as required under a child support order, there are various enforcement methods for the collection of ordered child support. According to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, these include:

  • Income withholding, such as from personal earnings, pensions, unemployment compensation benefits, workers' compensation payments, disability or sick pay, and assets in a financial institution.
  • Tax offset, which allows the collection of past-due child support from federal or state tax refunds, or both.
  • Credit reporting.
  • Professional license suspension.
  • Increase in the amount of income withholding to pay arrears.
  • The Child Support Enforcement Agency can petition the court for an order requiring a parent to seek work (if the parent has no income or assets).
  • Contempt penalties, which include fines, jail time, or other remedies the court finds appropriate.
  • Criminal penalties, including fines or jail or prison sentence.

Generally, child support orders can be reviewed every 36 months to increase or decrease the obligations under a child support order. If you have questions regarding the calculation of a child support order or enforcement to compel a non-paying parent, an Ohio child support attorney can help answer your questions. Contact an Ohio family law attorney today for legal assistance.

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