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Child support: doing the right thing

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Child support is not a favor to a former spouse. It is fulfilling a responsibility to children. To put it in a nutshell: in Ohio, each parent is responsible for paying his or her share of the total support each child needs. That’s pretty simple, but here are things to know:

Courts determine child support whenever a divorce or dissolution involves the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities. The court will decide whether and who will pay child support and set the amount.

Ohio law defines what each parent’s share is, based on her or his share of the total income generated by both parents. The law provides courts with guidelines and a table that calculates child support, based on the number of children and the combined income of the parents.

Courts use judgment to adjust the amount of child support parents will pay. They may take into account in-kind contributions by either parent, total household incomes, and other important factors. In general, courts will not create or permit situations where children move from relative affluence to relative poverty at the outset of a divorce or dissolution. They will try to approximate a similar standard of living in both households.

Courts consider medical insurance coverage as part of child support. Depending on each parent’s access to health insurance, the benefits and the costs, the court will decide how to allocate coverage and take it into account in the child support calculation. If neither parent has access to coverage, Ohio law says that the one paying child support will also pay cash medical support. Courts also decide about payment of extraordinary costs not covered by insurance.

Courts allocate dependency exemptions for each child. State law assumes that the custodial parent or the one a child spends the most time with is entitled to the exemption. But courts may allocate the exemption to the other parent if it is determined to be in the best interests of the child.

 
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