When you've filled in the boxes and clicked on the calculate button, you'll get a rough estimate of the amount of child support that the noncustodial parent will have to pay to the custodial parent.
But note that Ohio updated its child support guidelines in 2019 (and will update them every four years after that). To calculate the amount of basic support under the state's current guidelines, you may use the official Ohio Child Support Calculator.
Ohio's child support guidelines take into account both parents' incomes and how many children need support, as well as adjustments for certain expenses. The state presumes that the amount calculated under the guidelines is the correct amount in any case, but you may argue that a different amount would be better in your situation. Whether you and the child's other parent have agreed on a support amount that departs from the guideline or a judge decides for you, the judge will have to find that a strict application of the guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate and that a different amount would be in the child's best interests. (Ohio Rev. Code §§ 3119.22, 3119.23 (2022).)
Learn more about how child support works in Ohio, including the specific factors judges must consider when deviating from the guidelines.
Typically, you'll apply for child support as part of the process of filing for divorce in Ohio. Whenever you have minor children, you'll need to submit certain forms to the court, including a child support worksheet.
If you aren't married to your child's other parent, you may get help with requesting support by applying for child support services from the Office of Child Support (OCS) in the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. If needed, OCS may also help with establishing the child's legal paternity and locating the other parent.
In Ohio, child support orders generally include a requirement the the support amount be withheld from the paying parent's earnings (including income sources like workers' compensation benefits or disability benefits). But if there isn't an income withholding order (such as when the parent is self-employed), payments are typically made through the state's Child Support Payment Central, which then disburses the money to other parent.
When a parent gets behind on support payments, the OCS may also help enforce the child support order by taking actions like intercepting tax refunds, increasing the amount of income withholding, or suspending professional licenses.
Either parent may ask the court to change the amount of child support in an existing support order. But the judge will only grant the modification request if there's been a substantial change in circumstances that wasn't expected at the time of the most recent order. Any modification must be calculated under the guidelines, unless the guideline amount would be unfair and not in a child's best interests. (Ohio Rev. Code § 3119.79(C) (2022).)
Any time a parent requests a modification, the court will recalculate the support amount under the guidelines. If that recalculation shows an amount that's more than 10% different than the amount in the existing order, the judge will consider that to be change of circumstances that's substantial enough to require a modification. (Ohio Rev. Code § 3119.79(A) (2022).)
You may also ask Ohio OCS to review your existing child support order to see if it warrants an adjustment. Generally, the agency only conducts these reviews every 36 months, but you may qualify for an earlier review under certain circumstances—such as when you were laid off.