House Bill 366 modernizes the child support guidelines. The manner in which child support is calculated in Ohio has needed an overhaul for some time. The last update was in 1992 and the result likely produced orders that were too high for low income people. Additionally, the law fails to account for the ever-changing family structures we now see in today’s world.
Thank goodness House Bill 366 considers changes in family economics and structures. For instance, shared parenting is more common now and parties often share equal or close to equal time parenting their children—the new child support guidelines do a better job of addressing this very common scenario!
Additionally, there are more “caretaker” cases where grandparents, or someone other than the parents, are supporting and caring for minor children. The new guidelines are able to better address this common circumstance. There have also been changes to the tax code, which the new support guidelines consider.
The new support guidelines will take effect in April or May of 2019. Any motion to modify current orders brought after the effective date, will be subject to the new guideline calculations.
Changes to How Support is Calculated
The costs of health insurance are will now be calculated equitably. The total out of pocket cost will be subtracted from the obligor’s income BEFORE the income is inputted into the child support table. The new support guidelines recognize the amount paid for health insurance is not available for child support.
There will now be a cap created on the allowable credit for child care.
The new guidelines will account for the obligor’s (the person ordered to pay child support) parenting time. The current support guidelines do not count for parenting time, which obviously can result in an unfair order. The current guideline calculation transfers all dollars into one household, whereas the new guidelines will not operate in this manner and recognizes that costs travel with the child.
The new child support law is friendlier towards deviating child support. Built into the new guidelines, is a 10% credit which keeps 10% of the available income with the parent who has a standard parenting time order—or parenting time every other weekend. In other words, if the obligor has parenting time on every other weekend, 10% of the money stays with the obligor’s household to pay for the child when the child is in his/her care.
As a safeguard for the obligee, the 10% credit may be removed by the Court if the parent/obligor isn’t exercising his/her parenting time under the standard order.
Changes in the Parenting Time Deviation
The Court can consider lowering the amount of child support owed if the child spends above 90 days with the parenting ordered to pay child support. Any deviation granted would be in addition to the 10% for standard parenting time.
Under the current law, if the parties wish to deviate the child support to a lower amount based upon the obligor’s parenting time, the parties need to prepare “findings of fact” explaining why the Court should deviate the support.
Now, under the new law, for parents with 40% time share or more (40% equals 147 overnights) the court shall issue findings of fact if it does not grant a deviation beyond the 10% credit given for standard parenting time. Thus, the presumption under the new guidelines that an obligor’s support obligation should be lowered based upon his/her 40% parenting time share. And, if the court declines to do so, there much be stated into the record why the court is declining to lower the support.