Family Law

Child Support

Experienced Child Support Law Representation in Portage County

Child Support

Whether you are getting divorced or establishing paternity, attorney Rebecca Grabski knows that a correct child support order is necessary for the care of your child.

How Do They Calculate the Amount?

In Ohio, child support is calculated using the Ohio Child Support Guideline Worksheet which applies statutory guidelines set forth by the Ohio Revised Code.  The basic information going into child support calculations includes each parent’s income, the parent’s work related child care expenses, health insurance premiums incurred for the minor child, each parent’s local income taxes, and whether any other child support or spousal support (alimony) is being paid or received by either parent.

The Ohio Child Support Guideline Worksheet addresses child support for parents who earn a “combined gross income” of $300,000.00 or less. This is a new upper limit as the law was changed recently.

In cases where there are special needs of a minor child, such as extraordinary costs associated with health care issues, extracurricular activities or other child related issues, additional awards of child support may be Ordered.  When addressing these types of issues, the Court has the discretion to deviate (or not strictly follow) the child support guideline amount, either up or down.  In these types of circumstances, the Court must find that the strict application of the guidelines would be unjust or otherwise inappropriate, and not in the child’s best interests.

How to Calculate Spousal Support?

When calculating child support, the incomes are combined for purposes of applying the child support guidelines and If the combined gross income of the parent’s are more than $300,000.00, determination can be complicated.  High income child support cases are frequently the subject of contested litigation, as a parent may attempt to obtain additional child support to pay for the parent’s lifestyle, rather than using the higher child support to pay for the needs of the child.  Consult an attorney.

How to Calculate “High Income” For Child Support Cases

When the parent receives W-2 income.  If the parent only receives simple W-2 income, and no employer paid benefits, then the W-2 income is what the court will use as that parent’s income for purposes of child support calculation.  If the parent receives W-2 income and employer paid benefits, then the court may include the value of said employer paid benefits in the parent’s income for purposes of calculation of support.  Some examples of employer paid benefits are car allowance, cell phone and health insurance premiums.  in one case the court included the value of basketball tickets provided to an employee.

When the parent is self-employed.   “Self-generated income” means gross receipts received by a parent from self-employment, proprietorship of a business, joint ownership of a partnership or closely held corporation, and rents.  Once the gross receipts are determined, then subtract from the gross receipts, all ordinary and necessary expenses incurred by the parent in generating the gross receipts.  This may be different than what the IRS Code defines as “ordinary and necessary, as the support definition and the IRS definition are not always the same. “Self-generated income” includes expense reimbursements or in-kind payments received by a parent from self-employment, the operation of a business, or rents, including company cars, free housing, reimbursed meals, and other benefits, if the reimbursements are significant and reduce personal living expenses.

How to Calculate Income When A Parent Is Voluntarily Unemployed or Voluntarily Underemployed

When a parent chooses to quit their job, or chooses not work up to their full potential, the court can “impute” income, or assign a parent income, for purposes of calculating support, regardless of what the parent is actually earning.  It is important to note that even if a parent is working 40 hours per week, that parent can be found to be voluntarily underemployed, if the parent has been routinely working more hours per week over an extended period of time, and voluntarily chose to work less hours.

When trying to determine the amount of imputed income, the Ohio Revised Code defines “Potential income” as income the parent would have earned if fully employed.  In determining the actual amount, the court must weigh the following criteria:

The parent’s prior employment experience, the parent’s education, the parent’s physical and mental disabilities, if any, the availability of employment in the geographic area in which the parent resides, the prevailing wage and salary levels in the geographic area in which the parent resides, the parent’s special skills and training, whether there is evidence that the parent has the ability to earn the imputed income, the age and special needs of the child for whom child support is being calculated under this section, the parent’s increased earning capacity because of experience, the parent’s decreased earning capacity because of a felony conviction, and any other relevant factor.

In determining the imputed amount of income, a vocational evaluation expert is often utilized to assist the court in assessment of the above-referenced criteria.