Ohio residents often hear about high profile divorce cases in which the custodial parent is accused of wanting or receiving too much child support. However, most people are not aware that unless the parents come to an agreement about the amount, they have little say over how much will be awarded if the courts get involved, since courts use a formula set forth in guidelines that vary from state to state.

Most states, including Ohio, use an ‘income shares” formula when issuing a child support order. This formula considers the incomes of both parents, the estimated cost of raising children and the number of children involved. Other states use a ‘percentage of income” formula that only considers the non-custodial parent’s income and then establishes a set amount for support based on that income. For one child, for example, the average amount is 25 percent. The rest of the states have devised formulas that combine aspects of the other two.

People often voice their opinions over high child support amounts through social media. However, sometimes they fail to consider that had the parents stayed together, the children would have continued to enjoy the benefits associated with the higher income of the parents. Additionally, there are problems in the system, such as the lack of legislation requiring custodial parents to show that they are using the money received for the benefit of the children, and the stiff penalties faced by non-custodial parents if they fail to pay their child support, even if they find themselves financially struggling.

There often are situations where a parent who has been ordered to pay support becomes unable to do so because of an adverse financial change brought on by a job loss or another unexpected event. In such a case, the parent may want to have legal assistance in filing a petition with the court to modify the order and impose a lower amount.