These Are The Changes To The New Law You Should Know About. But Does It Effect Child Support And Parenting Time?
On July 17, 2018, we first posted a LEGAL ALERT on the Ohio Family Law Blog about the passage of H.B. 366 which repealed the present Ohio child support schedule. Our current law has been in place for 25 years! Here is the link to that article.
The new law, which becomes effective on March 28, 2019, is quite complicated and a substantial change in many areas. Like many Ohio divorce lawyers, I am learning its implications and training staff with these changes. Our firm has installed the new specialized computer software needed to properly calculate child support. I have even compared a few scenarios with the schedules anyone can find online. I can tell you that those free schedules do NOT include certain adjustments that can dramatically affect the outcome.
If, after looking at the summary I have attached, you have questions I would strongly suggest that you contact an experienced family law attorney where your Order was issued to recalculate the support. This new law does not automatically change any existing support Orders whether they had been issued through the CSEA, Juvenile or Domestic Relations Court.
Here are some of the changes:
- SUPPORT SCHEDULE: The economic tables have been changed. The last update to the tables was in 1992. Those numbers for the tables were from economic data from the 1980’s. These new tables are based upon current income data. According to research completed over the last 26 years, the legislature concluded that low income obligors could not afford the amounts they have been ordered to pay.
- SELF-SUFFICIENCY RESERVE: Federal rules now require that all states have a self-sufficiency reserve in the child support tables. The new bill has addressed the self-sufficiency reserve and there is a now a graduated adjustment to the table amounts for low income obligors (116% of the Federal Poverty Level). The theory is that these obligors can then still maintain a household after payment of child support. In addition, the thought is that if the obligors have orders they can afford to pay, we will end up with more consistent child support payments. The adjustment does phase out as income increases. At present, the minimum Order is $50.00 per child per month. For an income of $8,400.00 or less, the schedule amount will now be $80.00 per month per child.
- GUIDELINE WORKSHEET: The guideline tables now begin at combined annual gross income of $8,400.00 and max out at $300,000.00. The new minimum support order increases from $ 50.00 to $80.00 per month.
- GUIDELINE TABLES: The guideline tables are also now under rule and not statute. This means that the ODJFS must now adopt a standard worksheet and instructions. In addition, the Director of ODJFS must revise the worksheets and manuals as needed (but at least every five years). The thought is that changes can now be timely and easily made based upon cost of living changes without going through the legislature.
- INCOME MAXIMUMS: Under the old law, the calculations could not calculate joint incomes of more than $150,000.00. The new worksheet handles joint gross income up to $300,000.00.
- MULTIPLE FAMILY SUPPORT ORDERS: This new law eliminates the current deductions from a parent’s gross income for amounts paid for children under a pre-existing support order and amounts for children from another parent not involved in the current child support case. New law treats all children the same by providing a standard income deduction. Each parent’s deduction is computed by using economic tables and his/her individual income amount for the total number of his or her children. The objective was to eliminate the result which gives the first child to file for child support the highest order.
- PARENTING TIME ADJUSTMENTS: The new law provides a 10% parenting time adjustment for all standard parenting time orders (90 overnights per year or roughly every other weekend and one night per week). At the request of an obligee, that adjustment can be eliminated by the court if the obligor, without just cause, fails to exercise court ordered parenting time.
- DEVIATION FACTORS: The court shall also consider whether to grant a child support deviation for extended parenting time or extraordinary costs associated with parenting time when the court-ordered parenting time exceeds 90 overnights per year. This deviation is in addition to any other adjustments provided if the court-ordered parenting time equals or exceeds 90 overnights per year. If parenting time exceeds 147 overnights per year, the court shall consider a further deviation (and must issue findings and recommendations if the court chooses not to allow a deviation). The Court must address the specific facts of the case and determine whether or not a larger deviation or a downward one is appropriate.
- CHILD CARE CREDIT: There is now a cap on the child care credit. The credit cannot now exceed the maximum statewide average cost estimates provided by ODJFS. Parents can no longer get full credit for child care costs exceeding what the State of Ohio has now deemed reasonable for the particular age range of a child. There are several other changes in this area.
- SPOUSAL SUPPORT: Spousal support is still includible on the worksheet as a deduction for the Person paying spousal support and income for the Parent receiving spousal support. This deduction should not be confused with Federal Income Tax Law which eliminated spousal support from Income Tax calculations for new cases under an Order after January 1, 2019. There is no longer an adjustment for local taxes paid.
- OTHER CHANGES: There are a variety of other law changes including imputing income rules, other child care rules, as well as the way the number of children can affect the final child support calculations, plus a lot of others.
CONCLUSION: Until March 28, 2019, the current law and calculations will continue, but for some folks, it may be smart to postpone any support adjustment until after the effective date of the new law. As indicated above, this new support law is very complicated and really is a complete overhaul of the child support computation procedure in Ohio. Many of these new adjustments only exist in the professional software marketed to Courts and divorce lawyers. So, be careful to consult with a lawyer who does a lot of divorce and family law work about these changes.
Need To Consult With A Family Law Attorney About Child Support And Parenting Time? Contact Us Today!
If you are in the Dayton, Ohio area and want to consult with an experienced family law attorney familiar with child support matters please contact us at Holzfaster, Cecil, McKnight & Mues at (937) 293-2141.
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Robert L. Mues
Robert Mues is the managing partner of Dayton, Ohio, law firm, Holzfaster, Cecil, McKnight & Mues, and has received the highest rating from the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review for Ethical Standards and Legal Ability. Mr. Mues is also a founding member of the "International Academy of Attorneys for Divorce over 50" blog. Mr. Mues has also been a dog owner for 55+ years, and just recently, he and his wife are the owners of "Ralph", a rescued mixed Wire Hair and Jack Russell Terrier.