Nancy L. Sponseller

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Child support deviations

On behalf of Law Office of Nancy L. Sponseller posted on Thursday, July 31, 2014.

Ohio parents may be aware that the state has statutory child support guidelines for a judge to consider before entering a child support order. The basic child support amounts take into consideration the number of children shared by the parents, the income of each parent and the percentage of time the child lives with each parent.

The child support guidelines are helpful, but they may not be the best way to calculate support in every situation. For that reason, Ohio Rev. Code, Section 3119.22, allows the judge to choose to deviate from the standard child support amounts. The judge must determine that the support amount provided by the guidelines would be unjust and inappropriate in a given situation and that, therefore, it would be best to order that a different amount be paid.

Before deviating from the standard child support guidelines, the judge may consider any factor set forth in Section 3119.23. Common reasons for deviation include if the child having special or unusual needs, such as extraordinary medical expenses; if one parent has significant expenses for another child, other than a stepchild, due to that child’s disability or special needs; if the non-custodial parent pays directly for things like schooling, clothing or extracurricular activities; or if either parent has a child support obligation for another child.

When the basic child support amount provided by the worksheet would not be sufficient to meet a child’s needs, the custodial parent may be able to ask the judge for a deviation. A family law attorney may be able to help negotiate a resolution with the other parent, file the paperwork to request the deviation or go to court to argue for an appropriate support order.

Source: ORC 3119, “Factors to be considered in granting a deviation“, July 18, 2014