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How do Ohio courts calculate child support?

When it comes time for divorced, separated or unmarried parents to determine how much the noncustodial parent should pay in child support, Ohio law tries to balance the children’s needs with the parent’s ability to pay. There is a formula that family courts use to come up with a child support dollar figure.

As the Ohio State Bar Association explains on its website, the formula first examines each parent’s gross income, less certain deductions, such as local income tax and other child support or alimony orders. The parents’ adjusted gross incomes are then added together and applied to a chart. This chart provides a monthly figure that the child should receive from his or her parents.

From there, the noncustodial parent is ordered to pay a prorated share of that dollar amount, based on his or her percentage of the parents’ adjusted gross income. For example, say the custodial parent earns $10,000 per year and the noncustodial parent earns $30,000, for a combined gross income of $40,000.

According to the child support chart, a single child whose parents have a combined gross income of $40,000 is entitled to about $6,500 of child support per year. Because the noncustodial parent earns 75 percent of the combined incomes, he or she would then have to pay 75 percent of $6,500, or $4,875, per year.

Child support is meant to ensure that a child’s financial situation does not substantially change due to his or her parents’ divorce. As time goes on, it may be necessary to raise or reduce the level of support, which can be done with the assistance of a family law attorney.

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