Child support payments in Ohio are intended to ensure that both parents participate in their child’s development based on their income and ability. It is not designed to punish parents but to enable children to grow and live well. While initial child support calculations are generally based on the parents’ income, financial situations can change while an order remains in effect. As a result, some parents may suffer extensively and face the potential for serious penalties, even though they truly cannot afford to meet the payment schedule.
While some parents fail to pay child support due to neglect or anger, others are not able to make ends meet. They may face significant expenses for other children or high medical costs; in many cases, people lose their high-paying jobs and are unable to find new work that pays equally well. It is not uncommon for people to have problems paying child support; after all, only 45.3 percent of all custodial parents receive the full support amount due each month.
There are options for parents who cannot afford their child support obligations. Taking action quickly can help to avoid penalties that stem from simply not paying. Parents can request a child support modification with the Child Support Enforcement Office on the basis of changed financial circumstances. In many cases, parents’ circumstances can change significantly on multiple occasions while a child support order is in effect. The order can be changed due to changes in income, unemployment, disability, medical expenses or other obligations that make the initial order unfeasible.
It is important to make changes to a child support order in court, rather than through informal, non-binding agreements. This can provide much greater protection for the paying parent. A family law attorney may work with non-custodial parents facing financial problems to file for a child support modification.