After a divorce, your financial situation is not the same, as when you were married. The division of assets has caused the amount that you once had to decrease significantly. In addition, you may have lived in a dual-income home when you were married, which decreases your standard of living after your divorce is finalized.
If you have children and you were not given primary custodial rights or joint custody, you may be required to pay child support.
The reality of child support
Whether your state utilizes the percentage of income model, the income shares model, or the Melson model, a portion of your finances is given to your co-parent, in order to support your shared child and provide them with their necessities.
For those who struggling financially to get by, child support can be a difficult obligation to cope with every month. It is not that you do not want to support your child financially. It is simply a feasibility issue, and for many parents, this can lead them into poverty and possible jail time for missed payments.
Divorce, time, and career changes are some of the many factors that can impact your ability to pay child support, and for others, you may no longer need to pay, either to the extent that you currently are paying or at all. You may need to request modification.
This requires the assistance of your family law attorney, equipped with the tools and resources necessary to help your case. They understand your needs, because they focus on the needs of men and fathers alike who have faced similar circumstances in their divorce or child custody situations.
Depending on your state, you may have to face an uphill battle, when navigating the ins and outs of child support regulations, alongside your family law attorney. However, many states, like Ohio, are looking to make changes, in order to ease the process.
Currently, Ohio utilizes the income shares model, based on the idea that the child should receive the same proportion of a parent’s income as they would if they were living together. However, legislation recently passed through both the Ohio state House of Representatives and the Ohio state Senate, regarding child support reform.
House Bill 366, pending the signature of Governor John Kasich, looks to change how child support is calculated, according to the Dayton Daily News.
The bill will utilized updated economic data for the calculation of orders for families with a combined income of up to $300,000, which is an increase from the current $150,000. The bill also will account for shared parenting time and take in to consideration parental contributions for medical expenses and health care coverage.
The bill also will establish a “self-sufficiency reserve” to make sure low-income parents do not face child support orders that they cannot afford and a cap to allowable credit given for child care expenses. This is so low-income child support payors are limited to sharing half of the child care costs.
It also changes the minimum child support order to $80 a month, which is an increase from the current $50 minimum and it will allow state workers to update the child support formula tables, as opposed to needing lawmakers to approve any updates.
Possible outcomes and consequences
The bill would go into effect nine months after Kasich signs it, and the changes would not be retroactively applied, according to the Journal-News. If current child support orders are being reviewed, the new rules outlined in the bill will be applied.
This bill will not only aid parents who struggle with being able to afford their high child support payments, but also parents receiving the payments. According to Sarah Fields, head of the Montgomery County Child Support Enforcement Agency, approximately $100 million in child support payments go uncollected each year.
“The goal of the changes is to have child support orders that are based on the ability to pay, with the ultimate goal of consistent, regular payments to families with children,” said Fields.
With reform, parents who receive child support payments can adjust their expectations and avoid sending their co-parent into poverty over their ability to provide financially for their child. The end goal of these payments should never be poverty, but rather to offer the shared child the best life possible. With legislation potentially on the horizon for the state of Ohio, that end goal is a possible reality.
According to the Sentinel Tribune, Governor John Kasich signed House Bill 366 into law July 1. The guidelines for child support had not been updated since 1992.