Child support is money that you or the other parent pays to meet your child’s financial needs (like buying food and clothing). The Court or Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) decides the child support amount based on your income, expenses for the child (like childcare and health insurance) and how much time you spend with the child.
The amount of child support is determined by a standard set of rules from Ohio law. You can use the Ohio Child Support Calculator to see if your support amount could go up or down based on the law.
If you believe that the amount of child support you pay or receive needs to be changed, there are two ways to request a change:
- Request a CSEA review
- File a motion in court
There are pros and cons to both options. Here are some things to consider when deciding which option to choose:
- You will not have to pay court costs.
- You can complete the initial review without attending a hearing in person, they can be done by mail or over the phone.
- You don’t have to “serve” the other party.
- There is a faster appeal process if you don’t agree with the CSEA recommendations.
- In some cases, CSEA may not be able to conduct a review of your order. Contact the county CSEA that has your child support order to see if you are eligible for an administrative review and adjustment.
- You can request a modification at any time, you don’t have to consider the 36-month requirements for a CSEA review.
- You get to appear in person to explain your story to the judge or magistrate.
- The court has more flexibility to consider personal circumstances when deciding if the parent is voluntarily unemployed, or when deciding if the order should be modified.
- If your support order has multiple deviations from Ohio’s standard child support guidelines, the court may need to review the deviations to see if they are still possible.
- You may need to pay court costs.
- You will need to properly “serve” the other party.
- The court process can be more complicated, you may want to speak with a lawyer before going to court.
Requesting a CSEA review
One way to request a child-support change is having the county CSEA review your order. A review means that a caseworker looks at both parties’ information to see if child support or health insurance should be added or changed. The parties do not have to attend the administrative review.
You are eligible for a CSEA review if:
- It has been 36 months or more since your last child support order or review.
- It has been less than 36 months since your last child support order or review and your circumstances are different. Qualifying changes include being unemployed or laid off through no fault of your own for more than 30 days, or experiencing an income change of at least 30% through no fault of your own for at least 6 months.
To request a CSEA review, you should:
When you submit a review request, the CSEA determines within 15 days if you are eligible for a review. If you are a military member called to active duty, the CSEA determines within three business days if you qualify for a review.
To complete the review, the CSEA needs evidence of income, health insurance and other information for both parents. The CSEA will send you information about what documents and information you will need to provide for the review. Review this information thoroughly and send them all the documents they request.
The CSEA has 180 days from the date it has a valid mailing address for both parties to complete the review and mail the results. Once the review has been completed the party that requested the review cannot withdraw the review request.
After the review, the amount you pay or receive could go up, go down, or stay the same.
The CSEA will issue its recommendations to both parties. The recommendations will become the modified child support order if there are no objections from either side. The modified order will begin on the first day of the month following the review.
Both parties have the right to object to the modified order. If you object to the CSEA review results, you should submit a written request for “an administrative review and adjustment hearing” within 14 days from the issuance of the recommendations from the review.
A hearing will be held with a CSEA Administrative Hearing Officer, and this Hearing Officer will issue a decision following the administrative hearing. If you wish to object to the review and adjustment hearing decision you can submit your written objection to the court that issued the original order within 14 days from issuance of the CSEA decision.
While your case is pending before the court or the CSEA, the law requires you to keep paying support at the old amount. Otherwise, you will have to pay any back payments due.
Going to Court
Another way to request a child support modification is to file a motion in Court. The motion should be filed with:
- The Court that issued the original child support order--this could be a Juvenile or Domestic Relations Court.
- If the original order was from CSEA and not a court, the motion should be filed with the Juvenile Court in the same county as the CSEA that issued the order.
Going to court is more complicated that having a CSEA review. You may want to consult with a lawyer before going to Court.
If you want to go to Court, you should:
- Complete the paperwork. If your order was issued by Montgomery County Domestic Relations Court, you can use the forms provided on this site. If your order was issued by Montgomery County CSEA or Montgomery County Juvenile Court, go to the Juvenile Court's website to find more information about their forms and process.
- Explain your change of circumstances. On the paperwork, explain how your circumstances are different (like if your income is different, or if your custody changes). The change must result in at least a 10% change to the total child support amount. Proving that your child’s needs are different is not required.
- After you complete your forms, you will need to sign your documents in front of a notary. You can find a notary by searching on your browser for “a notary near me.” You can also wait to sign your papers until you get to the Court. The Court has staff who can notarize your forms for you.
- Drop off your completed, signed and notarized forms at the Court’s Compliance Office in Room 261.
- The Compliance Office will contact you after their review is complete. They will tell you if you need to make changes to your forms. Note: They usually contact you by phone, so make sure they have your correct phone number. If you need to make edits to your forms, they may ask you to come in to make the changes or may send you a letter describing the changes you need to make.
- If you need to make edits to your forms, read the letter from Compliance carefully and make the requested changes. Compliance allows you to make the edits directly on to the printed document by using white out and writing in blue ink the updated response or filling in ink a missing response. Do not cross out anything already on your forms, you must use white out to make corrections.
- After you make your changes, drop off your forms for review at the Compliance Office in Room 261 in the Courthouse. If you need to resign and notarize your forms, the Court has staff who can notarize your forms for you.
- Once your forms are approved for filing, you will get a call from the Compliance Office. Your forms will be available for pick up in the “pick up” bin at the Compliance Office.
- If you have questions, you can contact the Compliance Office at (937) 225-4782.
- Take your forms to the Clerk of Court’s Office. The Clerk of Court’s Office is located on the first floor in Room 104 of the Common Pleas Court Building, at 41 N. Perry Street. The Domestic Relations Court is connected to the Common Pleas Court Building through an indoor walkway, so you do not need to walk outside to get to the Clerk of Court’s Office.
- Give the clerk your forms and pay the filing fee (unless you have included a Poverty Affidavit / Fee Waiver with your forms). The filing fee is $200.
- Complete service. You must serve papers to the other parent. Follow up with the Clerk of Court's office after about 10 business days to make sure that service has been completed.
- Attend the hearing. Once the other parent is served, the Court will schedule a hearing. You must attend the hearing.
While your case is pending before the Court, the law requires you to keep paying support at the old amount. Otherwise, you will have to pay any back payments due.
If the Court decides there is a change of circumstances, the Court will require a new child support amount.
When does my duty to pay child support end?
Your child support order may be eligible for termination when:
- Your child turns 18 years of age. If your child is still attending high school when he or she turns 18, you are obligated to pay child support until the child graduates from high school or turns 19, whichever happens first.
- Your minor child lives on his or her own (and has been legally emancipated by the court), joins the military or gets married.
- There has been a legal change of custody and the child no longer lives with the other parent or has moved in with you.
If your situation qualifies under one of these reasons, you can call the CSEA and request termination of the support order.