With the launch of our new Ohio child support calculator, we wanted to address some common misconceptions many people have when it comes to establishing child support. While Ohio law includes guidelines for determining parents' respective obligations, calculating child support in a dissolution or divorce is not always as straightforward as it seems.
Six Common Myths Regarding Ohio Child Support
To help you better understand what you can expect, here is the truth behind 6 common myths regarding child support in Ohio:
- Calculating Child Support is Easy. One of the most common myths about child support is that calculating parents' support obligations is easy. You plug some numbers into a formula, and you find out who owes what. But, as you will see with our calculator, there is a bit more to it than that. Calculating child support isn't rocket science; but, it does require the collection of accurate information (which can be challenging, especially if your spouse is hiding income), and you need to make sure you address all of the factors that go into calculating an accurate child support award.
- Divorcing Parents Can Agree On Any Amount of Child Support. Ohio's child support law is designed to make sure that children who live with one parent will have the financial support they need to stay healthy, get an education, and enjoy a fulfilling childhood. As a result, in most cases, divorcing parents must establish a child support obligation that adheres to the legal guidelines we referenced above. If the parents wish to agree on an obligation that deviates from what the guidelines require, they will first need to obtain approval from a judge.
- Your Paycheck is the Only Income that Matters for Purposes of Child Support. Contrary to popular belief, except for certain specifically-enumerated exceptions, all income is considered when calculating child support in an Ohio divorce.
- Child Support Automatically Ends When a Child Turns 18. While the general rule in Ohio is that child support obligations end when a child turns 18, there are exceptions here as well. For example, if your child has not graduated from high school by his or her eighteenth birthday, or if your child has a physical or mental disability that prevents him or her from becoming self-supporting, child support obligations can continue into adulthood.
- Child Support Covers College. Many parents are surprised to learn that child support generally does not cover college tuition and expenses. But, since child support obligations typically end at age 18, higher education typically falls outside of the realm of child support. If you want to make sure that your soon-to-be-former spouse will contribute to your children's college costs, you will need to address this issue separately during the divorce process.
- You Can Stop Paying if You Lose Your Job. Whether you and your spouse settle your divorce amicably, or you resolve your differences in court, your divorce will ultimately be finalized by a court order. If you violate this order by failing to pay child support, you can face severe penalties - including possible jail time. Losing your job isn't an excuse. As a result, if you are concerned that you might not be able to meet your child support obligations after your divorce, you should speak with an attorney about seeking a modification before you stop making payments.
Questions about Ohio Child Support? Contact Laubacher & Co for a Free Consultation
If you are considering a divorce or are recently divorced and have questions about child support, we encourage you to contact us for a free, confidential consultation. To speak with an experienced family law attorney at Laubacher & Co., please contact us online or call 440-462-1882 today.