How to Collect Child Support Money in Ohio
While a couple in Ohio can agree between themselves to an amount for child support from one parent to the other, such an agreement isn’t enforceable if the paying parent falls behind. For the courts to enforce any kind of support, there must be a Court Order in place. For this to take place, a judge must convert an agreement to a court order. It’s easiest to do this by consulting with a child support attorney. Columbus, Ohio has a number of attorneys who can walk you through establishing a court order that requires a non-custodial parent to pay the appropriate amount of child support. Once this order is in place, enforcement of regular support payments is much easier.
1. Collecting Child Support Through Wage Garnishment
If the individual paying child support is employed, Ohio law requires that the employer automatically deduct the amount of the child support order from each paycheck. This garnished money is sent directly to Child Support Payment Central (CSPC), which forwards the funds to the custodial parent. Child support can also be deducted by the courts from other sources of income, including:
Pensions or annuities
Disability or sick pay
Proceeds from insurance policies
Endowments or trust funds
The process of finding these potential sources of income in order to enforce the court order through garnishment can be difficult, particularly if the parent attempts to hide his or her sources of income. This is another reason why it is crucial to consult with a child support attorney in Columbus, Ohio who is experienced in pursuing child support.
2. Direct Payments to CSPC
There are instances when wage or earnings garnishment is not put into place by a court order. If the parent paying support is self-employed, wages are not garnished. The individual must make payments directly to CSPC and turn in proof of earnings periodically to the court. To pay support directly to CSPC, individual payors can mail a personal check, cashier’s check or money order to Ohio Child Support Payment Central. Personal checks can be used for any amount less than $20,000. For greater amounts, a certified check is required.
Individuals can also make payments directly to CSPC by credit card, checking account debit, MoneyGram or, in some instances, by walk-in payments at county Child Support Enforcement Agencies.
3. Receiving Child Support Payments
Because all court-ordered child support in Ohio goes through CSPC , there are a few ways to accept payment of support if you are the custodial parent. It is important to remember that any child support payments made directly from the paying parent to the custodial parent are considered gifts. If a payment is not processed through CSPC it will not be credited against any court-ordered support obligations. Do not accept payments for child support directly from the other parent. If your child’s parent offers to pay you directly, you should contact a child support attorney. Columbus, Ohio’s Petroff Law Offices will work with the Office of Child Support to put a proper withholding order in place to protect you and your child’s support.
4. Contempt of Court
When a child support order is put into effect, it is hoped that the parent ordered to pay support will follow through with his or her obligations. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. If there is a court order of child support in place and the payor isn’t current with his or her obligations, the custodial parent can file a motion asking a judge to require the payor to appear in court and explain why he or she isn’t making the proper child support payments.
If the payor is found in contempt of court, he or she could receive jail time of up to 90 days or ordered to perform community service. They may also be fined. In order to get out of jail, the payor will have to pay at least a portion, if not all, of the child support owed in a lump sum.
5. Collecting Past Due Child Support
Each Ohio county has a Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) that monitors child support payments. In most cases, they will know when child support payments fall behind. Once payments fall more than one month behind, CSEA can use several techniques to collect on past due child support money.
In addition to wage garnishment for current child support payments, the CSEA can seize additional wages or other income to cover arrearages.
If the individual in contempt has financial accounts, the CSEA can take the money owed out of these accounts. CSEA can also place liens against properties such as real estate in order to collect.
8. Tax Refund Offset
If child support is due and the payor who has been ordered to pay support qualifies for a state tax refund, the refund money can be intercepted and used to pay past-due support to the custodial parent.
9. “Seek Work” Order
If the individual who owes back child support isn’t employed, a judge can order him or her to seek and apply for work. He or she will be required to report all job seeking attempts to the court and report when a job has been found.
10. License Suspension
Driver’s licenses, including commercial driver’s licenses, can be revoked or suspended until the child support arrearages are brought current. State identification cards and certain other types of licenses may also be suspended at the discretion of the courts.
Consulting with a Child Support Attorney in Columbus, Ohio Can Help
The rules governing child support are complex. Filing for a court order, appearing in front of a judge and making sure any child support you are owed is paid promptly and in full is time-consuming and confusing. Trying to handle it yourself may lead to costly mistakes. Your best approach is to hire a child support attorney in Columbus, Ohio who is experienced in handling all phases of the child support process. At Petroff Law Offices, we handle Ohio child support cases on a daily basis. Our years of experience and familiarity with the Franklin County courts will ensure you and your children get the support you need and deserve so that you can focus on being a parent.