Nancy L. Sponseller

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Ohio Lagging, Attempting New Methods to Collect Child Support

On behalf of Law Office of Nancy L. Sponseller posted on Monday, August 18, 2014.

Ohio child support guidelines were last updated in 1993, and the lack of revision creates a situation which advocates say leaves Ohio lagging behind other states. According to a 2013 report by the Child Support Guidelines Advisory Council, if the state used estimates provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture based on cost of living rather than its 1993 guidelines, child support payments would jump by approximately 13 percent for one child and approximately 27 percent for four children.

On the other hand, collection efforts have led to increased compliance since 2012. Around 68 percent of ordered child support payments are being paid, representing an improvement over the 66.6 percent collected during fiscal year 2012. The governor’s goal is 70 percent collection by September 2015. County agencies have implemented some nontraditional methods in their efforts to collect.

Among the methods employed is Family PACT Center mediation, designed to encouraged non-custodial parents to get more involved in their children’s lives on the theory that parents are more likely to make support payments if they feel connected to their children. Incarceration, by contrast, has been relied upon less than in previous years. In the past year, 342 parents were sent to prison for failure to make support payments. Five years earlier, 588 parents went to prison.

Additionally, a new law requires casinos and other gambling establishments to check whether certain winners owe child support before paying out their winnings. For bingo and slot machine wins of more than $1,200, for example, casino employees will check a database maintained by Job and Family Services and withhold some or all of the winnings if the winner owes child support. In cases wherechild support payments are owed and not being made, a family law attorney may be able to help pursue payment, in some cases via wage garnishment or asset seizure.

Source: Coshocton Tribune, “Ohio child support payments lag nation“, Jessie Balmert, August 10, 2014