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Child Support

Practice Areas

Columbus Child Support Lawyer

In every case involving a minor child, the parents or the court must decide if any child support will be paid and, if child support will be paid, how much child support will be paid. In many cases, computation of child support is simple. However, many exceptions exist regarding the general rules.

Definition of Child

Generally, child support is only paid for a child under the age of eighteen. However, child support may also be paid for a child who is eighteen years old but has not yet graduated from high school.

If a child is handicapped, a court may order that child support be paid after the child’s eighteenth birthday. Generally, the handicap must be so severe that it prevents the child from obtaining meaningful employment.

General Procedure

Generally, a two step procedure is used to address child support. First, a parent’s presumptive child support obligation is determined using a mathematical formula. Second, various factors are considered to determine if the final child support amount should be higher or lower than the presumptive amount. These steps are explained further below.

Step One – The Mathematical Formula


The basic child support formula considers several factors. These factors include the following.

  • The number of children
  • Each parent’s actual income
  • Each parent’s imputed income
  • The cost of the children’s health insurance
  • The cost of work-related childcare expenses
  • Local income taxes

After the relevant information is obtained, the formula is applied. The formula determines which parent shall pay child support and the presumptive amount of child support the parent shall pay.

Child Support Worksheet

The child support formula discussed above is contained in a document called a child support worksheet. When determining child support, the parties or the court must prepare a child support worksheet and file the worksheet with the clerk of court.

Actual and Imputed Income

In determining child support, a parent’s actual income, and a parent’s imputed income, must be considered. Actual income is the income that a parent is actually earning. Imputed income is income that a parent could earn if the parent attempted to seek appropriate employment.

Imputing income can be very complicated. In many cases, expert witnesses are hired to testify regarding the amount of income that should be imputed to a parent.

In determining if income should be imputed to a parent, and in determining the amount of income that should be imputed, the following factors must be considered.

  • The parent’s prior employment
  • The parent’s prior income
  • The parent’s education
  • The parent’s physical and mental condition
  • The parent’s other responsibilities The jobs available to the parent
  • The income the jobs would pay

Step Two – Deviation Analysis

After a parent’s presumptive child support obligation is determined, the parties or the court must determine if the presumptive child support amount is appropriate in this specific case.

The party who will pay child support frequently argues that the presumptive child support amount is too high and that a downward deviation should be granted. Similar, the party who will receive child support frequently argues that the presumptive child support amount is too low and that an upward deviation should be granted.

In determining if an upward or downward deviation from the presumptive obligation should be granted, various factors may be considered. These factors include the following.

  • Time spent with the children
  • Expenses paid on behalf of the children
  • Each parent’s assets and resources
  • The children’s standard of living

Withholding Orders

After a court determines a parent's child support obligation, the court issues a withholding order regarding the obligation. The withholding order is sent to a non-party, generally an employer or a bank.

If the parent is employed, a withholding order is sent to the parent's employer. The employer withholds the child support from the parent's paycheck. If the parent is not employed, but if the parent has a bank account, the withholding is sent to the bank. The bank withholds the child support from the parent's bank account.

The parent's employer or bank sends the child support, plus processing charge, to the state child support agency. The state child support agency makes a record of the payment, keeps the processing charge, and forwards the child support payment to the other parent.

Shared Parenting Cases

Determination of child support in a shared parenting case can be very difficult. The law is unclear regarding how child support should be determined in these cases. Many different approaches are used throughout the state of Ohio.

In many shared parenting cases, the parents will have equal time with the children. In such cases, the parent paying child support will almost always be ordered to pay an amount of child support smaller than the presumptive amount. However, courts vary regarding how the downward deviation should be determined.

High Income Cases

A high income child support case is a case in which the parents have a combined total income of $150,000 or more per year. Special rules apply in these cases. Courts vary on how the rules should be applied.

In some counties, a court will presume that a parent should not pay greater than a certain amount of child support regardless of that parent’s income. However, in other counties, courts will automatically order larger child support payments as a parent’s income increases.

Low Income Cases

Special rules also apply in low income cases. Generally, a court will not allow a parent to pay child support of less than $50.00 per month. However, if special circumstances are present, a parent may be required to pay nothing.

Success Stories


The DHS law firm attorneys have produced successful outcomes for many family law clients. Please click here to read about success stories that reflect various family law issues. Perhaps you will see your marital issues reflected in one or more of these brief stories.

Contact Us

Please contact DHS for a confidential consultation with attorney Dougherty or Hanneman or Snedaker. Each is an Ohio State Bar Association Certified Specialist in Family Relations Law. They are three of only 115 attorneys in Ohio who have earned this designation as of January 1, 2013. Less than one-half (1/2) of one (1) percent of all family relations attorneys registered in Ohio has achieved this status!

DHS is located in a safe, convenient northwest Columbus suburb with free on-site parking. The building is west of the intersection of Sawmill Road and Bethel Road. (Bethel Road becomes Hayden Road west of the Sawmill Road intersection.) The offices are in the classic redbrick Northwest Law Offices Building:

  • next to Bravo! Cucina Italiana Restaurant,
  • on the north side of Hayden Road, and
  • east of Riverside Drive (State Route 33).

Then turn onto Donnylane Boulevard from Hayden Road. Then turn right into the parking lot behind the building. The main entrance is at the rear of the building.