How to Calculate Child Support Payments in Ohio

Learn how to calculate child support in Ohio, when the amount of support may be different than what’s calculated under the state’s guidelines, and how to apply for, collect, and modify child support.

By , Legal Editor

How to Use the Ohio Child Support Calculator

To calculate the amount of basic support under Ohio's current child support guidelines, you can use the official Ohio Child Support Calculator.

You'll need to have some basic information on hand before doing the calculations, including both parents' income and what your parenting time) arrangements will be. The calculation will be more accurate if you also have information about your expenses for the child's health insurance coverage and work-related child care, the amount of spousal support one parent will be paying to the other, and either parent's preexisting child support orders.

If you're still negotiating issues like your parenting plan (custody) and spousal support, you might try multiple calculations under different scenarios.

Are Other Child Support Calculators Accurate?

Watch out for other websites with so-called child support calculators for Ohio. Unfortunately, there's no guarantee that these calculators are accurate and up-to-date. Ohio updates its child support guidelines regularly, and you usually can't tell whether any of these other websites have kept up with the latest changes.

It's best to stick with the official state calculator to get the most accurate estimate of the amount of child support you may pay or receive. But notice that word "estimate." As we discuss in this article, the judge may order a different amount in your case. Of course, the accuracy of the child support calculation will also depend on the accuracy of the information you provide.

When Child Support May Be Different than the Guideline Calculation

Ohio's child support guidelines take into account both parents' incomes and how many children need support, as well as adjustments for certain expenses and for shared parenting. 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 (2024).)

Learn more about how child support works in Ohio, including the specific factors judges must consider when deviating from the guidelines, and what gets counted as income when calculating support.

How to Apply for Child Support in Ohio

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.

How to Collect Child Support in Ohio

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.

How to Change the Amount of Child Support

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) (2024).)

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) (2024).)

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.

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