5 Things Changing with Ohio's New Child Support Law - Jonathan M. Stanley
On June 29, 2018, Governor John Kasich signed House Bill 366 into law. This law represents the first substantial modification of Ohio’s child support regulations in more than 25 years. Those changes to the child support laws went into effect on March 28, 2019. If you are feeling either bored or masochistic, you can review the full text of the bill HERE or you can find the full Ohio Revised Code sections HERE. For everyone else, I will attempt to summarize some of the larger changes that will be coming to Ohio’s child support system.
High Income Earners Will Be Paying More - Under the old guidelines, the calculation tables only provided annual child support figures for combined incomes of up to $150,000 per year. This meant that child support calculation software would cap the monthly payments for high income earners regardless of whether the combined income of the Parties was in excess of $150,000. Technically, payees could argue that the Court should “extrapolate” child support based on the higher income. But in reality, it meant that many high income earners only ended up paying child support based on the $150,000 child support figures. Under the new guidelines, the tables have been extended to provide child support figure for combined incomes of up to $336,000 per year. This will allow the new software to provide automatic child support figures for higher income earners and it will prevent the Courts from having to consider extrapolation on a case-by-case basis.
Low Income Earners Will Be Paying Less - The new child support tables will include an increased “self sufficiency reserve (SSR)” for lower income payors. The purpose of this SSR is to ensure that a payor has funds available to be able to support themselves before being asked to pay child support. The increase in SSR means that a larger portion of that payor’s income will be excluded from the child support calculations that the many low income payors will find themselves paying less than they would have under the old law.
Childcare Expenses Are Capped - Under the old law, there was no cap placed on the amount of childcare of expenses which could be used for the purposes of calculating child support. The new law has set caps for the maximum amount of annual childcare that can be included for each child. The amount of the cap changes depending on the age of the child in question. Additionally, payors who fall within the SSR mentioned above will be responsible for a maximum of 50% of the childcare costs regardless of what percentage of the combined income they posses.
Parenting Time Credit and Deviation - The new law provides additional guidance for how the Court should reduce child support obligations based on the amount of overnights that a payor exercises with the children each year. In practice, the law creates a 4-tiered system under which a payor may be entitled to receive a credit or a deviation of child support based on his/her overnights.
0-89 Overnights – No credit will be granted and the Court is not required to consider a deviation based on parenting time.
Exactly 90 Overnights – A 10% credit will automatically granted, but the Court is not required to consider a deviation based on parenting time.
91-146 Overnights – 10% credit will automatically be granted and the Court may issue a deviation. However, the Court is not required to issue a Findings of Fact in the event that a deviation is not granted.
147+ Overnights - 10% credit will automatically be granted and the Court may issue a deviation. However, a Findings of Fact will be required if the Court determines that a deviation should not be granted.
Cash Medical Support Will Be Paid In All Cases - Cash medical support is the portion of a child support order which is set aside to reimburse the state of Ohio for the costs associated with children receiving state-provided health benefits. Under the old law, a payor was only required to pay cash medical support when the children were not covered by private health insurance. Under the new law, all child support orders will include a cash medical support amount of $388.70 per child per year. This amount can be deviated down to $0.00, but in the event that the children end up receiving state benefits in the future, the Child Support Enforcement Agency may come after payors for reimbursement.
These changes will only affect new child support orders or existing orders which are modified by the Court on or after March 28, 2019. Stay tuned for a future article (HERE) on whether you may be able to change your current order to take advantage of the new law. In the meantime, the best way to find out if you may qualify for a modification of your current child support order is to contact a qualified domestic relations attorney. Please contact our office if you would like to set up a free consultation to explore your options.
- Jonathan M. Stanley, Esq.