Child Support Lawyer in Columbus
Do You Need A Child Support Lawyer In Columbus, Ohio?
Everyone wants the best for their child, even amidst a separation or divorce. Your responsibility as a parent is to find the balance between caring for your child and providing for them financially until they can stand on their own. However, the emotional distress of two parents breaking up and the legal jargon and technicalities can be too much for you to juggle. You may therefore consider getting a child support lawyer in Columbus, Ohio, to help you with all child support-related issues. While you may not necessarily need a lawyer to represent you in a hearing, they can still be highly instrumental in helping you understand the process.
What Is Child Support?
When the two parties divorce or separate, this is a monetary obligation owed by one parent to the other for the support of a child or children. The parent owing the obligation could be biological, adoptive, or any person that acknowledged paternity on the child’s birth certificate. Usually, the court will determine the amount to be paid to the custodial parent based on the child support laws within their jurisdiction. Matters of child support are considered part of the divorce or legal separation proceedings that look out for the wellbeing of the child or children as they transition to life with their parents living separately.
Child support, sometimes called child maintenance, is paid by the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent. The goal of the support is to ensure that both parents continue to provide and contribute to the wellbeing of their child or children regardless of the relationship between them. Technically, the money paid in child support belongs to the child, but the custodial parent is responsible for managing it and providing for the child’s needs.
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Filing for Child Support in Columbus, Ohio
The laws and guidelines around child support vary between each state. In Ohio, child support can be established and implemented by the County Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA), the Domestic Relations Court, or the Juvenile Court. You can find any of these three in every county in Ohio. The first step in the filing process is establishing support. This requires that you complete an application that requests a review for child support. The application form is available online through the Columbus County Child Support Enforcement Agency. Make sure to fill in all fields and include any requested documents. In most cases, you may need copies of the following to go along with the application for child support:
Once you have submitted your application and the needed documents, they will be reviewed, and your case will be assigned to a child support caseworker. The worker will find out the other parent’s location and afterward notify you by mail of either an appointment for genetic testing in cases where paternity is unknown or a support hearing.
What Does A Child Support Lawyer Do?
Depending on your side, you will be required to prove your need for child support payments or the noncustodial parent’s ability to pay the support. It is highly recommended you find a child support attorney to ensure you act within the legal guidelines and build a strong case.
1. Helps You Understand the Child Support Process
If it is your first experience handling the child support process, seeking the help of a lawyer will ensure you know what to expect. During the first contact with a child support lawyer, the lawyer will educate you on the steps you need to follow and the paperwork involved in various issues surrounding child support. In addition, a lawyer makes your work easier by explaining your rights and the actions you can take depending on your situation. Even if you have filed for child support before, you may be unfamiliar with the other areas, such as making child support modifications.
A child support lawyer is not only a strong advocate for your rights, but they also give you confidence that you are doing everything correctly to make the process smooth and fast.
2. Assists With the Implementation of Child Support
Since every state has terms for setting up and implementing child support orders, a child support attorney provides you with the relevant knowledge base to guide your actions. Often, parents have a hard time reaching an agreement, leading to a lot of back and forth in court. Even after reaching an agreement, some parents still fail to honor their obligations. A lawyer will work with you to ensure that a child support order is implemented correctly, and failure by any party to uphold their obligation results in legal consequences.
3. Negotiates Child Support Payments
If you are in a situation where you cannot seem to reach an agreement with the other party, a lawyer can come in to renegotiate the terms for you. For example, the child support lawyer can serve your ex-partner with a child support order demanding them to pay a certain amount of appeal in court. They can engage their lawyer to argue the judgment if they decide to appeal the support.
Discussing child support with an ex-partner can be an emotional roller-coaster that could quickly get out of hand if left between you two. However, by allowing your lawyer to negotiate on your behalf, they will handle the situation diplomatically and amicably.
4. Safeguards Your Rights
Family law has many complexities, and you can quickly get yourself tangled up in a legal mess. A child support lawyer works to safeguard your interests for a fair outcome. Therefore, should you feel that your rights are being denied or suppressed, you need to hire a child support lawyer to present your grievances and ensure they are considered in the final decision.
Preparations for Meeting Your Child Support Lawyer
As mentioned earlier, a child support lawyer will help you build a strong case that can demonstrate an absolute need for child support payments. Therefore, when meeting your lawyer, it is best to prepare the necessary documents to impact your case. In most instances, these are financial statements and proof of identity. Examples of such documents include:
- Tax return forms
- Proof of paternity like the child’s birth certificate
- Credit card statements and credit reports
- Investment account statements
- Proof of benefits such as healthcare
- Medical records for children in need of ongoing medical care
- A breakdown of the child’s or children’s needs and the cost incurred to meet them
- Any other document that shows the need for child support, like the inability of the parent to maintain a similar lifestyle without child support.
Calculating Child Support in Columbus, Ohio
In Ohio, child support is calculated following the Ohio Child Support Guidelines worksheet. First, the worksheet considers all the circumstances surrounding the case to calculate the amount of child support owed. It also considers all sources of income for both parents and analyses their financial expenses. Then, using all the facts and figures in the case, the worksheet will provide a figure that is then applied to a chart, and the paying parent is asked to pay the percentage of that number on the chart based on their percentage of the combined gross household income. This is a fairly complex calculation but necessary all the same.
When calculating the amount of child support to be paid, the following factors are taken into consideration:
- The custody arrangement
- The combined annual income of both parents
- Guidelines for higher income limits
In the calculation, the formula to determine child support relies on the following:
- Your gross annual income, as well as that of your ex-spouse
- The amount of income tax paid
- Child support and spousal support from a different partner
- Childcare costs for parents that are working or going to school
- Health insurance costs
Based on all the information listed above, the chart will determine the amount it takes to raise each child and then determine what percentage of that amount every parent assumes. Usually, the parent with the higher income is obliged to pay a more significant percentage of the child support amount.
All payments are made monthly and via the CSEA located in the job and family services department. Going by the Ohio Revised Code, payments are withheld by a wage withholding order, meaning they are directly deducted from the obligor’s pay. CSEA will be responsible for dispersing the collected payment to the receiving parent. In case of any changes to employment, the paying parent needs to notify CSEA.
How Long Does a Child Support Order Last?
The orders to pay child support remain active until a child reaches 18, graduates from high school, or is emancipated, based on the event happening last. For example, suppose a child is 18 but is still enrolled in high school full-time, and the orders to pay child support stand. Also, the child support order can be extended if a child has special needs.
For legal assistance on child support issues in Columbus, Ohio, contact The Law Office of Dmitriy Borshchak to learn the necessary steps you should take. Our experienced child support lawyers will help you get the best possible outcome for your situation.