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Are You Receiving The Correct Child Support Amount On Behalf Of Your Child?

Does your child have special medical, developmental or mental health needs? Does your child need to travel a long distance to visit their other parent? Have you recently moved? If you are not receiving adequate support on behalf of your child, it could hinder their growth and negatively impact their overall well-being. If you are seeking child support or paying child support, it can be challenging to work with your local Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA). Working with an experienced attorney who understands the nuances of Ohio's child support laws can ease your burden.

I am Bobbie O'Keefe, and I can help you decipher the best plan of action. I have 25 years of experience working with Ohio's child support system and helping families provide for their children. Call my firm, O'Keefe Family Law LLC, for a consultation at 614-633-4777.

Paternity And Child Custody Must Be Established Before Child Support Is Calculated

One of the hardest parts of a divorce can be determining custody of the children. If there are questions of paternity of the child, that process can be further complicated. Children conceived or born during a marriage are legally presumed to be children of the husband. For any child conceived/born outside of marriage, the father's name on the birth certificate does not automatically grant him rights to time with the child. It also means that the father may not be obligated to provide financial support. Determining paternity can play a role in deciding custody during a divorce, though the primary question will be what is in the child's best interest. If questioning paternity could be harmful to the child, the decision may be made to avoid or legally prevent paternity testing.

Determining paternity may be the initial step in seeking child support for a single mother. If you are a single mother seeking child support, you can petition the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) to order a DNA paternity test. Once the father's paternity is confirmed, you will be able to seek child support. Establishing paternity can help single mothers seek child support or other financial assistance from the father.

Child Support Is Intended To Provide Children With The Care They Need

The incomes of both parents will be reviewed to determine how much of their income is dedicated to caring for the child. A family court judge determines what is fair for each parent to pay for the children to be entirely taken care of. The judge looks to several other factors when determining child support, including:

  • Additional child support - If a parent is currently paying for child support for another child, then this will be deducted from their income so that the other child receiving the child care is not hurt in the process.
  • Health care — If one parent is paying for health care for the children, then the other parent's child support will supplement this cost. Most courts will ask for additional funds to be added to the amount of health care so that costs for medication or health-related items will be covered.
  • Child care — The court will consider how many days a week the child is in a child care facility and the overall expense of the child attending the facility.
  • Custody status — The amount of time that each parent is spending with the child makes a significant difference on how the child support is delegated and calculated. When custody of the child shifts after the initial agreement, modifications can be made to the child support order based on the new arrangements.
  • Additional expenses — The cost of living, which includes items such as food, clothing, school supplies and other educational items that will ensure the children are living good lives.
  • Enforcement — If someone fails to pay child support according to their court order, the court can hold the person in contempt. Failure to pay child support can also be enforced under criminal statutes. They could face fines and jail time, depending on the length of time of the nonpayment. Federal law also provides for prosecution in cases of nonpayment, with possible penalties of a six-month jail sentence and/or mandatory repayment of the full unpaid amount.

Each case is unique and O'Keefe Family Law LLC will be by your side throughout the process. From the amount of child support that you are responsible for, to how it is delegated and organized, I can help you keep the best interests of your child at the forefront.

Explore Your Legal Options In A Consultation

As a lawyer, I represent all family members, from parents and stepparents to aunts and uncles. I also represent same-sex couples seeking custody of their children. I can help you alleviate the stress and clearly explain the process to you. Contact me via email or call my firm in Columbus at 614-633-4777 for a consultation.