Enforcing Child Support
What if the absent parent misses a payment? Pursuant to regulations issued by the State of Ohio, the CSEA takes action to enforce a support payment when the payment is one month or more in default. Support orders are, by law, administered on a monthly basis.
What sort of action will be taken if the support is in default one month or more? The CSEA will make inquiries to determine why support is not being paid (illness, loss of employment, change of employment, etc.). The CSEA will work with all parties concerned if there is a good reason why support is not being currently paid to see that support is indeed paid.
What if the initial action(s) does not result in support being paid? The CSEA, in conjunction with the Prosecuting Attorney, can take a number of actions depending on the nature of the case. These actions may include requesting a finding of contempt of court, professional license suspension, liens on certain property, issuing an order requiring the obligor to seek work, reporting the party to the Credit Bureau, attempting to get access to retirement or pension funds (even if the party has not yet retired), placing the party on the Ohio "Most Wanted" poster, and pursuing criminal non-support.
What is child support arrears? Child support arrears are that sum of money that the records of the CSEA reflect that the obligor owes but has not paid.
How are child support arrears collected? The CSEA may request, through an administrative Notice of Default process, that an additional amount be deducted from the obligor's pay to reduce and eventually eliminate a child support arrearage. This is usually set at 20% of the current support order. Arrears may also be collected by attaching the proceeds of a lump sum payment that the obligor would normally receive, such as federal or state income taxes, bonuses, lottery winnings, and worker's compensation claims, to name a few. The parties have the right to request an Administrative Mistake of Fact Hearing if the party disagrees with the recommendation contained in the Notice.
What if the other parent now resides in another state? Support and related matters can still be pursued. The most likely means of pursuing these items is through the interstate process UIFSA (Uniform Interstate Family Support Act).
What if I now reside in another state? You should contact your local CSEA to initiate enforcement actions in cooperation with this agency.
What if the other parent is required to provide medical insurance for the child and is not doing so? The CSEA will generally take enforcement action on your behalf. It must usually be shown that the party has access to medical insurance at a reasonable rate but has declined to obtain it.
I understand my case is now being prepared for court. When will I get a court date? Court dates are determined by a variety of factors. In certain types of cases, we can't get a court date until we get "service of process" on the other party. In other types of cases, we get a court date when the case is filed. Then, if we are unable to get service of process on the other party, the case can be continued a few times to allow us to obtain service. Bottom line -- the CSEA does not decide what your court date will be. All court dates are set as time is available on the court calendar.
The obligor is not paying the ordered child support. Doesn't that prove that this person is in contempt? The nonpayment of support will certainly be evidence supporting that contention. However, the obligor is not in contempt until such time as the court rules on the contempt motion which will be put forward by the CSEA attorney. The obligor may present defenses of which only you may have knowledge enough to prove or disprove.
The other party has already been found to be in contempt of court in this matter and he (or she) still is not paying? Our judicial system affords the other party the right to present evidence in their own behalf. The contempt hearing is held for just this purpose. At this hearing, the court will decide whether or not to impose the jail sentence.
Since the other party is not paying child support, can I curtail their visitation privileges? If visitation has been ordered, you do not have the legal right to withhold that visitation. Issues on visitation, custody, and shared parenting are separate from support.
I'm paying my child support, but the other party is not letting me have visitation. Can I stop paying my child support? No! If visitation was ordered, you will need to engage a private attorney to file a motion against the other party who would be in contempt of the visitation order. The CSEA cannot do this for you, or on your behalf, since the agency has no authority under Ohio statutes to address visitation issues.