The toughest questions in ending a marriage bubble up when it comes time to discuss custody. Dividing your assets might be difficult, but how do you divide your children? Who gets the kids? What kind of time will you or your ex-spouse have with them? Who pays child support? Ohio’s domestic relations law may lay the groundwork for the answers to these questions, but the dedicated family attorneys at Babbitt & Dahlberg fight for your interests.
Ohio law doesn’t establish an age at which children can choose which parent to live with. Instead, the court looks at the issue of custody on a case-by-case basis. While the court does not give a parent preference because of financial status, custody is determined on a number of factors, such as the child’s wishes and relationships with parents and siblings, as well as either parent’s failure to make past support payments. Other factors can include:
When it comes to parenting time, the court will typically set a parenting schedule providing which days of the week the non-residential parent will have the children, when the children are available for vacations, which holidays the children will spend with each parent, and so forth.
If either parent requests shared parenting — what’s frequently referred to as joint custody — the court must take into consideration additional factors, such as the distance between the parents’ homes, the age of the child, the child’s school and vacation schedule and each parent’s willingness to reschedule missed parenting time.
A multitude of factors come into play when a judge reaches the issue of child support, from parents’ income to the child’s needs.
There are several people in the child’s life who may be charged with paying child support, whether directly related to the child or not. The court could appoint:
The court uses specific worksheets to calculate guideline child support in Ohio, which include factors such as each parent’s pre-tax income and the percentage each spouse contributes to the household’s total income. As you might expect, the number of children being supported is also considered in the final figure. This formula is adjusted for parents who have a combined gross income of less than $6,600 or more than $150,000.
Once a dollar amount is determined, there are different methods available to collect child support. Most commonly, the court will issue an order requiring the paying parent’s employer to withhold the amount of child support from that parent’s paycheck and to pay that amount directly to Ohio Child Support Payment Central. Or, if the parent is self-employed, the court can require the paying parent to set up an automatic withdrawal from a bank account. Portions of workers’ compensation benefits and retirement benefits may also be withheld to fulfill a child support obligation.
There are some outside factors that can alter the amount of child support, such as a substantial increase or decrease in the paying parent’s income or a change in the needs of the child.
Ohio courts are entitled to award “reasonable companionship or visitation rights” to grandparents who are invested in the child’s welfare when visitation is also in the child’s best interest. The court’s decision may be influenced by where the grandparents live and the distance from their home to the child’s residence, the child’s health and safety, the child’s and parents’ available time, the child’s age and any wishes of the child.
If you’re facing custody or child support challenges, reach out to the Columbus divorce attorneys at Babbitt & Dahlberg at 614-228-4200 today to set up consultation.