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How is child support calculated?

Posted by attorney Todd Kotler

This article focuses on Ohio law as that is where this author practices.

Support is calculated according to the rules in Chapter XXXI of the Ohio Rev. Code. The formula presumes that roughly 20% of the combined income of the mother and father would normally be spent on a child. Thus, the total income is added together and multiplied by .2, for the couples support calculation. Next the support calculation figures out what percentage each parent contributes to the total and that percentage is applied to the support calculation for the couple (that is if mom makes 20K and dad makes 30k the total income is 50k and the total the couple would typically spend would be 10k moms share is 2/5ths [40%] of that 10K or 4k and dad's is 3/5ths [60%] or 6K)

The party the child is living with is presumed to be naturally spending money on the child and the non residential parent is given a guideline amount to pay of their percentage share (Thus, for this hypothetical if mom were non residential she would pay four thousand a year and conversely dad would pay six thousand).

R.C. § 3119.03 states that the guideline calculated amount of child support is rebuttably presumed to be the amount of child support which is due. This means that one who disagrees with the guideline calculation has the burden of proving it is incorrect.

Ohio Rev. Code § 3119.22, permits the Court to deviate from the presumed amount calculated by the guidelines but must: 1. Enter the presumed amount 2. Find that such amount is both: a. Unjust or inappropriate; and b. Not in the best interest of the child; and 3. Enter findings supporting the determination of unjust/inappropriate and not in best interest of the child. To deviate, the court must consider the factors listed in § 3119.23 See statute for full description of factors:

  1. Special needs of child;

  2. Extraordinary obligations/handicapped children;

  3. Other court ordered payments;

  4. Extended parenting time;

  5. Second job (additional employment);

  6. Resources and earning ability of child;

  7. Disparity in incomes of parties or households;

  8. Benefits of remarriage/sharing living expenses;

  9. Taxes;

  10. In-kind contributions;

  11. Relative resources;

  12. Standard of living;

  13. Physical/emotional condition/needs of child;

  14. Educational opportunities;

  15. Parents’ responsibility for support of others; and

  16. Any other relevant factor. Note: If the court uses

  17. (any other factor), court must specifically state basis for the deviation.

The effect of these nuances on individual courts can vary widely.

This author recommends that one seeking a deviation consult a local attorney. Attorney Kotler may be reached at 330-777-0065 or TBKotler@SBCGlobal.net (mailto:TBKotler@SBCGlobal.net)

Additional resources provided by the author

RECOMMENDED READING:

The Divorce Handbook, by James Friedman (particular attention should be paid to checklists, worksheets and pages 113-121 on being a witness).

Mom's House, Dad's House, by Dr. Isolina Ricci on Shared Parenting.
Getting to Yes, by Roger Fisher and William Ury (The original, often quoted, resource on alternative dispute resolution).

Getting Past No, By William Ury (The companion resource to Getting to Yes).

Merging Families: A Step-By-Step Guide for Blended Families by Bobbie Reed

Summit County Child Support Enforcement Agency
P.O. Box 80598, 175 S. Main Street
Akron, Ohio 44308-0598
(330) 643-2765

Battered Women's Shelter Help-line:
(330) 371-1111

Victims Assistance Program
(330) 376-0400

Summit County Children Services
264 S. Arlington St.
Akron, Ohio 44306
(330) 379-1880 (general information)

Stark County
JOB & FAMILY SERVICES CSEA INFORMATION & INQUIRY FAX
116 Cleveland Ave. N.
Canton, Ohio 44702
(330)-451-8042

Stark County JFS Social Services
300 Market Ave. N.
Canton, Ohio 44702
(330)-451-8893

This guide and this author's other guides, are written with appreciation for the attorneys for whom I clerked or later faced as opposing counsel. I have borrowed liberally from their forms, letters and pleading styles. All the credit for insight and sagacity belongs to them, any fault belongs to me.


It is with appreciation that I thank; Sharon Berg, Charles Grisi, Susan Lax, Hon. Mary Rowlands, Hon. Thomas A. Teodosio, Barry Ward, Dean Wagner, and Bill Whitaker.

Attorney, Todd Kotler may be contacted either at 330-777-0065 or by e-mail at TBKotler@SBCGlobal.net.

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