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Child Custody/Support

Children Issues

How does a court decide which parent will get custody of a child?

When the parents cannot agree on a custody arrangement, the court will make the decision for them after considering the totality of the circumstances, with the overriding consideration being the child's best interests. To make that determination, the court considers:

  • The child's age;
  • The child's gender;
  • The child's physical and mental health;
  • The parents' physical and mental health;
  • The parents' lifestyles;
  • Any history of abuse;
  • The emotional bonds between the parent and the child;
  • The parent's ability to give the child guidance;
  • The parent's ability to provide the basic necessities, such as food, shelter, clothing, and medical care;
  • The child's routines, including home, school, community, and religious;
  • The willingness of the parent to encourage a healthy, on-going relationship between the child and the other parent; and
  • If the child is above a certain age, the child's preference.


In many cases, a consideration of these factors results in awarding custody to the parent who has been the child's primary caretaker. This involves deciding who spends the greatest amount of time providing face to face care for the child. Although this is often the child's mother, any preference for the mother strictly on a gender basis is outmoded. Custody challenges can become major contention points. At the Law Offices of Jacob Rzepka we can aggressively pursue the desired custodial situation.



What is Child Support?


Child support is an entitlement that children have in every state of the United States. Child support may be enforced across state boundries. Child support is designed to provide for the needs of the child. While many believe child support is used to improve the economic status of the recipient, its real purpose is to support the child, and prevent the State from having to support the child.

Child support is computed by a standardized formula taking into account the income of the parent's, allocation of certain expenses, and certain medical information. It is an attempt to continue a basic standard of living that children would have been entitled to if the parents together continued to support the child.

In Ohio the income used to compute the level of support is capped at a combined family income of $150,000. A number of factors exist which can allow a court to increase or decrease the actual award of support. By calling the Law office of Jacob Rzepka we can assist you in assuring that the correct amount of support is paid or received.

Who Determines Child Support?

In Ohio Child support is typically determined by the Domestic Relations court at time of dissolution or divorce. A standardized calculation is performed to establish a guideline entitlement. The judge has discretion to modify the award depending on other factors, such as special needs of the child, or the custodial parent. In establishing the guidlienes for support the legislature has attempted take into account the cost of necessities required to raise a child.

Other agencies may order child support to be paid. They include:

  • The County Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA);
  • Juvenile Court


Despite the variations from state to state, there are some general factors that are almost universally considered by judges issuing child support orders, including:

  • The child's standard of living before the parents' separation or divorce;
  • The paying parent's ability to pay;
  • The custodial parent's needs and income; and
  • The needs of the child or children, including educational costs, daycare expenses, and medical expenses, such as for health insurance or special health care needs.
  • Special needs of the child or children, including educational costs, daycare expenses, and medical expenses, such as for health insurance or special health care needs.



Judges will often review a financial statement completed by each parent that lists all sources and amounts of income and expense before issuing an order. If any of the listed items changes significantly, either parent may go back to court and ask for an increase or decrease in the amount of child support ordered.

How is the amount of child support calculated?
Ohio has developed guidelines that help establish the amount of child support that must be paid. The guideline provides a calculation methodology generally based on the parents' incomes and expenses and the needs of the children. In Ohio the law allows judges some discretion in determining the amount of child support that must be paid. While Judges may deviate from the computed result, they may only do so when there are good reasons (defined in the Ohio Revised Code) to do so.

Judges will often review a financial statement completed by each parent that lists all sources and amounts of income and expense before issuing an order. If any of the listed items changes significantly, either parent may go back to court and ask for an increase or decrease in the amount of child support ordered.


Each county in Ohio has a Child Support Enforcement Agency, a Juvenile Court and a Domestic Relations Court. The Ohio Revised Code, Title 31, establishes the criteria, guidelines and Child Support Worksheet to be utilized in determining appropriate child support.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

1.
At what age does child support cease?

Answer: In Ohio Law Child Support continues until your child is 18 and eithercompleted high school or no longer enrolled on a full-time basis in an accredited high school. When a child currently a full time student turns 19 years of age, generally child support will end

3.
Can my child support be modified?

Answer: Yes. Child support can be modified. Child support modifications must be made on motion to the proper court. A motion for child support may be for an increase or a decrease. In order to obtain a modification the court will require eveidence of a significant change in circumstances that justifies the modification. This might include needs of the child, changed circumstances concerning the child, or a change in income of the parent.


3.
What happens when child support is withheld?

Answer: Ohio and all other states have significant penalties up to an including incarceration for failure to pay court ordered support. In many cases professional licenses can be revoke, drivers license revoked until the payment is made current. The recipient of child support may be able to seize the non-paying parent's federal and state tax refunds.

It is also possible to obtain a judgment lien against a defaulting payer's real property and subsequently foreclose on that lien to obtain payment. As an inducement to cause payment the county prosecutor may bring charges for felony non-support for stubborn non-payers.

4.
Are Mothers Favored in Custody Proceedings?

Answer: The law provides that determination of custody is not dependent on the gender of the parent. The judge is bound by law to decide custody on the best interests of the child. Historically mothers have been favored because they have been the primary caregivers to their children. With the modern day trend that women and men are both are working parents it is no longer assumed that a mother spends greater time with the children. In many respects custody is one area where it pays to get an attorney to advocate for your rights whether a mother or father.






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Law offices Jacob M. Rzepka 5035 Mayfield Rd. Lyndhurst, Ohio 44236 (216)-923-1309
Hours By Appointment - Evening and Weekend Appointment Available
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