Ohio Child Support
Enforcement, Laws & Information

The Ohio Child Support program strives hard to exceed your expectation in the child support area of a child's life. They have all the tools needed to satisfy your needs in getting the services that you need to take care of your child.

Child Support exists to raise the standard of living for children by enforcing their right to receive financial support from both of their parents. The child support program assists families with collecting much needed child support from parents who are not in the home. If you reside in Stark County in Ohio we have an entire page dedicated to their child support system.

Ohio Child Support


Ohio Office of Child Support

The Office of Child Support provides leadership, structure, and resources to advance the child support program in Ohio. The Office of Ohio Child Support is dedicated to improving the lives of Ohio's children.

Ohio has an excellent performance record in a number of areas within child support - including collecting and distributing nearly $2 billion in child support in 2007*. This amount includes over $1.5 billion in income withholding and over $109 million in tax offset collections.

With the fourth largest caseload in the nation, Ohio continues to look for ways to make the program easier, more effective, and more customer-friendly for their clients.

Establishing Paternity

Paternity can be established in the following ways. The first is through the voluntary acknowledgment process where a form known as an "Acknowledgment of Paternity Affidavit" is completed. It can be filled out at the hospital when your child is born, before both parents leave the hospital.

It can also be completed at the CSEA or your local Vital Statistics Registar (usually associated with your local health department). If a case is contested or if there is some doubt as to the fatherhood of the child, either parent may request that the CSEA conduct genetic testing to determine the father of the child.

The CSEA will then order all parties to submit to genetic testing and will issue an administrative paternity order based on the outcome of the genetic test. For a paternity order to be established, the test must show at least a 99% probability of fatherhood. If either party fails to submit to the test or fails to submit the child for genetic testing, and this is a public assistance case, the CSEA shall refer the case to court.

Why is it important to establish paternity?

Children have the right to support from both parents. This is true even when the parents are not married to one another. If the parents of a child were not married when the child was born, they need to establish paternity. To establish paternity is to establish fatherhood--to legally name a child's father.

Establishing paternity truly benefits a child. Establishing fatherhood is important to a child's sense of self. Every child should know who his or her father is. Establishing fatherhood makes it easier to find out about medical problems that may run in the family. And only a legal father can put his child on his health insurance policy, and get health care for his child in an emergency.

Establishing fatherhood makes it easier for the child to obtain help from the father's:

  • Social Security
  • veteran's benefits
  • Inheritance or
  • If the father becomes disabled or dies.
  • Medical Support

Medical support is a provision of a Ohio Child Support order that may include some or all of the following:

  • providing private health insurance coverage for the child or reporting available health insurance coverage;
  • paying cash medical support;
  • sharing responsibility for the child's uncovered health care expenses; or
  • paying a specified dollar amount determined by the court for health care expenses that have been or will be incurred.

Cash Medical Support

The new federal medical support regulations became effective July 21, 2008, revising federal requirements for establishing and enforcing the medical support obligations in child support enforcement program cases receiving services under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act. The changes: require all child support orders in the IV-D program provide some form of medical support for the child, even when health insurance is not available to either parent; redefine reasonable cost private health insurance; and require private health insurance to be accessible, as defined by the State.

In compliance with the new federal regulations, the Ohio Child Support laws regarding medical support have also changed. The Ohio Revised Code continues to require all child support orders to order the obligor and/or obligee to obtain and/or maintain available private health insurance coverage that is reasonable in cost, and adds the requirement in all Ohio Child Support orders for the obligor to pay cash medical support during any period when the child is not covered by private health insurance as ordered in the Ohio Child Support order.

In order to accommodate the new cash medical support obligation, child support orders will now contain two Ohio Child Support obligation amounts, an amount when health insurance is provided and an amount when health insurance is not provided, and the additional cash medical support obligation. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) Office of Child Support has revised the "Administrative Order for Child and Medical Support" to accommodate the new obligations.

When the obligor's annual gross income is less than 150% of the federal poverty level for an individual , the cash medical support obligation will be $0.00. Otherwise, this obligation will be the lower of five percent of the obligor's annual adjusted gross income or the amount from the ODJFS United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Cash Medical Support Schedule.

Parent Locator

The Ohio Child Support Enforcement Agency can help find the physical whereabouts of the non-residential parent, the employer, or other sources of income and assets so that the CSEA may take the next step to secure or enforce a child support order. In order to do this the CSEA uses database information from sources such as: the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Employment Services, the Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security Administration, and the Ohio New Hire Employer directory.

Review and Adjustment of Ohio Child Support Orders

Either parent or guardian can ask for a change in the order. Ohio Child Support orders can be reviewed every 36 months from the date the order was established or the date of the last review. Some orders can be reviewed sooner than the required time frame if certain circumstances are met.

"Review" means that a caseworker looks at both parties' income information to see if child support should be changed or if health insurance should be added or changed.

"Adjustment" means an upward or downward change in the amount of child support based on the application of the Ohio Child Support guidelines. It also means adding or changing provisions for the child(ren)'s health care needs through health insurance.

Enforcement of an Order

Whenever a support order is initiated or modified, a general provision requires any payor of a non-residential parent to withhold a specified amount to be applied to the Ohio Child Support order. Income withholding is part of a support order and established at the time the order was issued. This can change over the lifetime of the order depending on the types of income available for withholding, the work status of the parent paying support, and the availability of assets to pay the child support obligation.

Income withholding is the best enforcement method for the collection of ordered Ohio Child Support . This method is mandatory and applies to almost all types of income--not just wages.

The word "income" includes, but is not limited to:

  • personal earnings
  • workers' compensation payments
  • unemployment compensation benefits
  • pensions
  • annuities
  • allowances
  • private or governmental retirement benefits
  • disability or sick pay
  • insurance proceeds
  • lottery prize awards
  • any form of trust fund or endowment
  • lump-sum payments
  • assets in a financial institution
  • any other payment in money.

Tax Offset is an enforcement method for the collection of federal and/or state tax refunds of the non-residential parent to satisfy past-due child support (arrears).

Note: If the non-residential parent has no income or assets, the Ohio Child Support Agency can get an order requiring the parent to seek work.

If an individual fails to comply with a required action and enforcement by a court becomes necessary, the court can hold the person in contempt. Contempt penalties can increase with each offense and include fines and/or jail time or other remedies that the court finds appropriate. Some of the reasons a person can be cited for contempt are:

Disobeying a judgment or order of the court.

  • Failure to obey a subpoena or refusal to answer as a witness.
  • Failure to appear in court as required.
  • Failure to submit to genetic testing.
  • Failure to comply with the provisions of a child support order.

Federal law also provides for criminal non-support to be prosecuted, if certain criteria are present. For a misdemeanor federal offense, the non-payment must be willful, the obligation must be unpaid for at least one year or be greater than $5,000, and the offender and child must reside in different states. Possible penalties for this offense include imprisonment for up to six months and/or a fine, and mandatory restitution of the total unpaid support obligation.

Termination of Ohio Child Support

Reasons why a support order can terminate include, but are not limited to, if the child:

  • gets married
  • is emancipated by court order
  • enlists in the armed services
  • gets deported
  • dies
  • has a change in legal custody
  • reaches the age of 18 and graduates from high school

The residential parent of a child must notify the CSEA of any reason why the support order should terminate. The non-residential parent may notify the CSEA of any reason why the child support order should be terminated. If the Ohio Child Support order was established by the court, the residential parent's failure to notify the CSEA of the above reasons to terminate can be considered contempt of court. If the order was administrative, the CSEA can levy fines for failure to report that information.

If other children are included in that support order, the order is eligible for a review for adjustment upon request by either parent. The CSEA can ask for a review if there are monetary benefits paid to the residential parent for other public assistance programs.


Common Questions About Ohio Child Support

My ex-spouse changes jobs frequently. This keeps me from receiving regular payments. What can be done?

A. The law requires the non-residential parent to notify the CSEA when a change in employment occurs. Even if he/she doesn't, the employment or assets are reported through the New Hire Reporting Program. Employers must report all their new hires in 20 days; therefore it is now easier for the CSEAs to find out about the non-residential parent's change of employment and new employer.

I am on Unemployment Compensation. Is there a limit on the amount that can be taken out for child support?

A. Yes, The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Office of Unemployment Compensation can only deduct up to 50% of the non-residential parent's unemployment benefits to pay the child support. If the unemployment compensation benefits are insufficient to meet the entire obligation, arrears will accrue on the order.

What if the non-residential parent cannot be found locally?

A. Your local CSEA will use the Ohio Parent Locator Service (OPLS) to search. Your local CSEA can use information from the National Directory of New Hires, the Financial Institution Data Match, and the Federal Case Registry to assisting in locating the non-residential parent. All of these matches have as a first step a Social Security Number verification. Your local CSEA can access various sources to search for the person.

If the non-residential parent is out of state, the CSEA can request another state to search. It is becoming harder for non-paying parents to hide from their child support obligations and the agencies that enforce them. The CSEA can also request location through the Federal Parent Locator System (FPLS), Financial Institution Data Match (FIDM), National Directory of New Hires (NDNH), and the Federal Case Registry (FCR). All of these matches have as a first step a Social Security Number verification.

What is arrearage?

Arrearage is the amount of child support that is past due when payments are not kept up in accordance with a mandated order.


Other Child Support Collection Measures

Most Wanted Posters

ODJFS has been publishing the Ohio Child Support "Most Wanted" Poster since 1992, when the initiative was established by Senate Bill 10. The goal of the poster is to locate non-residential parents whose whereabouts are unknown and who are seriously negligent in paying child support. The poster is published bi-annually and features ten non-residential parents from throughout the state.

Written permission from the residential parent is required for a non-residential parent to become a candidate for inclusion on the poster. The non-residential parent must not be known to be a recipient of Ohio Works First, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Food Stamps or have filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the Federal Bankruptcy Code.

Each poster includes photographs and information about 10 selected non-residential parents. Each selected non-residential parent is provided with a 90-day grace period to come into compliance with the CSEA after receipt of the Notice to Obligor Inclusion on Poster. The non-residential parent can come into compliance by completing all of the following:

  • Making a payment to the CSEA at least equal to the current monthly obligation
  • Providing the CSEA with a current address
  • Providing the CSEA with evidence from each current employer of current wages, salary, and other compensation
  • Providing the CSEA with evidence that arrangements have been made for withholding from wages, salary, or other compensation


Contact the Ohio Office of Child Support

Ohio Child Support Customer Service Phone Numbers

ODJFS General Information Customer Service 

877-852-0010


Child Support Customer Inquiry 

800-686-1556


Interactive Voice Response 

800-860-2555


Payment Central 

888-965-2676


Children and Families 

Putative Fathers Registry 

888-313-3100


Child Protection 

866-635-3748


Welfare Licensing 

Child Care Fraud 

800-627-8133


Safe Havens 

800-755-4769


Kinship Permanency 

866-886-3537


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