What are Ohio's guidelines for child support?

Understanding Ohio's Child Support Guidelines

Child support is a crucial aspect of ensuring the wellbeing of children when parents are no longer together. The state of Ohio has established a set of guidelines designed to make the calculation of child support payments fair and consistent. These guidelines take into account the financial circumstances of both parents and the needs of the child or children involved.

Income Shares Model

Ohio uses what is known as an 'Income Shares Model' for determining child support. This model is predicated on the concept that children should receive the same proportion of parental income that they would have received if the family unit had remained intact. Therefore, both parents' incomes are considered when calculating the amount of support.

Basic Calculation Process

The process begins with the determination of each parent's gross income. Gross income can include wages, salaries, bonuses, pensions, and many other forms of income. Once incomes are established, they are combined to determine the total parental income for child support purposes. The combined income is then referenced against a basic child support schedule provided by Ohio law to ascertain the basic support obligation.

Adjustments and Deviations

Several adjustments may be made to this basic obligation. For instance, considerations for medical and childcare expenses are factored in. Additionally, the court may consider deviations from the guidelines based on factors such as special needs of the child, long-distance visitation costs, or other relevant financial obligations.

Custody Considerations

The amount of time a child spends with each parent (also known as parenting time or visitation) can also impact child support calculations. For instance, if one parent has significantly more time with the child than what's considered standard, this might result in an adjustment to the support obligation.

Enforcement and Modification

In Ohio, child support orders are legally enforceable. Failure to pay can lead to serious consequences including wage garnishment, interception of tax refunds, and even jail time. Child support can also be modified if there is a significant change in circumstances such as a change in income or in the needs of the child.


To illustrate these guidelines with a hypothetical example: If Parent A has a gross income of $50,000 per year and Parent B has a gross income of $30,000 per year, their combined income would be $80,000. According to Ohio's child support schedule, let's say the basic obligation for one child at this combined income level is $10,000 per year. The $10,000 would be divided between the parents based on their proportional share of the combined income—$6,250 from Parent A and $3,750 from Parent B annually.

Historical Reference

The Ohio child support guidelines have evolved over time to better reflect changes in society and economics. In 2019, Ohio enacted significant reforms to update its child support guidelines for the first time in over 25 years; these updates included adjustments to reflect modern healthcare costs and changes in standard living expenses for children.

To explore further details regarding Ohio's child support guidelines or for help with specific cases, individuals are encouraged to consult legal professionals or visit Ohio's official state website.