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  4.  | What is child support meant to pay? What doesn’t it cover?

What is child support meant to pay? What doesn’t it cover?

When entering into an agreement or litigating child support and other child-related expenses, it is important to know what the money is intended to cover and how you can negotiate the amount.

In Ohio, the state-mandated child support calculation is meant to cover a portion of the child or children’s shelter, food, clothing, and medical expenses. For this reason, generally, each parent is to provide clothing, food, and other necessities for the children in their own homes. The state provides a worksheet that is available online to show the guideline order.

This guideline support amount may be deviated as a result of the division of parenting time or can be modified by the agreement of the parties. Other considerations considered when calculating child support are the cost of health insurance coverage to the parent providing health insurance, childcare expenses paid by each party, other children not of the marriage, and whether spousal support is paid or received by either party. It is important to discuss with your counsel what other deviations under Ohio Revised Code 3119.23 might apply to your specific case.

How Can Child Support Payments Be Used?

Many times, before agreeing to pay support, the parent paying child support wants to know why and how the other parent needs the child support payment. The courts will not likely order an accounting of how child support is spent. Once paid, the parent receiving the support may choose to allocate those funds, as necessary. The receiving parent may choose to buy organic vegetables and cheap clothes or may choose to buy name-brand clothes but eat off-brand cereal. This is a personal choice for the other parent’s household. If there is an issue that is of particular importance to the parent, such as they want their child to always have the latest trends in clothing, that is something that can be discussed and determined in negotiations and considered in the overall division of expenses.

Does Child Support Cover Extracurricular Activities or School Fees?

It is also important to know what additional costs are to be prepared for on top of your child support obligation. Child support does not cover school fees, private school tuition, extracurricular-related expenses, or uncovered out-of-pocket medical expenses over the guideline cash medical payment. If a child participates in a sport or other activity, the associated fees for participation, uniforms, etc. are usually divided by a percentage of the cost between the parties. This could be negotiated depending on what costs are specific to your children.

Can Child Support Be Modified?

Child support is modifiable upon a change of circumstances and a percentage change in the underlying child support order. The courts will not determine that child support is not modifiable during the term in which the children of the marriage are unemancipated; under eighteen and/or have not graduated high school. Even if there is an existing child support order, each parent should review the order periodically to ensure it meets with their current income and whether the deviations applied remain appropriate to ensure that the proper order is paid or received.