When parents divorce in Ohio, the court may order one ex-spouse to pay child support to the other. Each parent’s income, the care needs of minor children and other factors may determine support amounts.
However, the court also recognizes that these factors will likely change as children grow and parents move on with their separate lives. When a family’s circumstances change dramatically, it may be necessary to revisit and potentially modify an existing support order.
When might the court approve child support modification?
The court may approve either an increase or decrease in support amounts if either a child’s needs or a parent’s financial circumstances change significantly. Examples may include:
- A major increase or decrease in a parent’s total income
- A change in the cost or access to health insurance
- An alteration of custody arrangements
- An increase in a child’s daycare, educational or medical expenses
- A child becomes an independent adult
How can parents pursue a change in support amounts?
Parents wondering whether to pursue modification can use Ohio’s support calculator to determine whether the court is likely to approve a change.
If it has been some time since the current order went into effect or if financial circumstances make payment amounts unworkable, parents may ask the Child Support Enforcement Agency to review and possibly change support amounts without going to court.
However, if one parent is likely to object or if the change in circumstances is complex, it may be necessary to file a motion to modify support with the court.
Divorced parents who get along relatively well with each other may find it tempting to make an informal agreement about support changes. However, without approval of the court or the CSEA, altering support payments may lead to legal penalties as well as potential conflicts down the road.