Child Support Enforcement

 

Every child deserves support from both parents.  This support includes both financial and emotional support.  Child Support enhances the well-being of children while promoting positive parental involvement and improving a family’s self-sufficiency.

The Child Support Enforcement Agency offers many services which are available to the Non-Custodial Parent and the Custodial Parent.

APPLICATION FOR CHILD SUPPORT SERVICES: 

Click here to view and print the Child Support Services Application.

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DETERMINATION OF PATERNITY & Changing The Child's Last Name

Paternity is the legal determination of fatherhood. In Ohio, an unmarried woman who gives birth is automatically the sole residential and legal custodian of the child until a court makes a ruling.

There are four (4) ways to establish paternity:

  1. ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF PATERNITY AFFIDAVIT – This is a legal document which both the mother and father of the child sign (and have notarized). This document is then filed with the Central Paternity Registry. It is generally provided to the parents by the hospital, however, the Child Support Agency, as well as the Health Department, can administer this Affidavit to the parties for signing. This Affidavit is final 60 days after the LAST signature is notarized. If either parent wishes to rescind (cancel) the Affidavit and ask for Genetic Testing, they may do this, but it must be done within 60 days of the last notarized signature. This option of Paternity Establishment is NOT available if the mother is married to another person or an Affidavit has already been signed and finalized for this child.
  2. GENETIC TESTING – DNA genetic testing is performed using the Buccal Swab method. A mouth swab is performed on all parties and is generally done at no cost to the parties. The results will be mailed to the parties within 15-30 days of the last party being tested. Samples are collected on the mother, child, and alleged father. You must bring photo identification with you in order to have the testing completed.
  3. PRESUMPTION – If the mother was married at the time of the birth of the child, or the child was born within 300 days of the termination of the marriage, there is a presumption of paternity. The presumption may be disputed by either parent through genetic testing.
  4. DEFAULT – A man that has been served with a court order to appear for Genetic Testing, but fails to do so, may have paternity established in his absence by the court. This can be done through the testimony of the mother and any relevant evidence.

 

Changing Your Child’s Last Name

There is a limited window of opportunity in which to change the child’s last name without the parties needing to file on their own through the court. The Child Support Agency can assist parents with changing the LAST name of the child during the Paternity process ONLY. However, the parents must BOTH agree to the name change. This must be done prior to the agency receiving the results of the genetic tests and is usually required prior to the testing. If the man being tested returns positive DNA results “and” the parties have agreed to change the last name of the child based on “positive” DNA results, the name will be changed on the birth record. However, if “negative” results are returned indicating he is NOT the father, then the last name of the child is not changed.

It is important to know that if both parents cannot agree to change the last name of the child, the father (once determined to be the father through DNA testing), may OBJECT to the Administrative Establishment of Paternity and have the issue brought before the court for consideration. This is done by completing the proper objection form timely

ESTABLISHMENT OF A CHILD SUPPORT ORDER

The Child Support Agency can establish a child support (and medical support) order for a child as long as Paternity has been established. Orders must be established prior to a child’s eighteenth birthday.

This process is used after the Administrative Paternity process has been completed and/or when parents are NOT married and wish to seek a child support order. The parents are served to appear before an Administrative Hearing Officer to determine an appropriate amount of child support. Parents will be ordered to bring financial information with them to this hearing. The Hearing Officer will complete and mail to the parties a Recommendation of the child support amount. The parties have objection rights if they are not in agreement that the support was determined properly. If an objection is received, the matter is scheduled before the court. If no objection is received, the Recommendation is filed with the court and becomes a final and enforceable order. It is important to attend all hearings.

ENFORCEMENT OF A CHILD SUPPORT ORDER

The Child Support Agency is responsible for the enforcement of Child Support payments, Spousal Support payments and Health Insurance coverage when one or both parents are ordered to provide coverage through their employer or alternate source (i.e. spouse). It is important to know that our office is unable to enforce the payment of medical bills owed by the other parent. We recommend that parties seek legal counsel or file through Small Claims Court to pursue collection.

The agency has the ability to perform specific Administrative Enforcement actions as well as Legal Enforcement actions to ensure child support payments are paid as ordered.

The first source of collection, is through a mandatory income withholding from the Non-Residential Parent’s employer, unemployment, workers compensation benefits, social security, pensions, bank accounts etc.

At times, it becomes necessary for the Child Support Agency to pursue certain types of Administrative Actions or Legal Actions to ensure a child receives the financial support he/she is entitled to receive.

Administrative Enforcement Actions include;

  • An additional payment added to the current support to pay back child support (this is generally ordered at 20% of the current support amount)
  • Interception of Federal and State Tax Refunds
  • Reporting delinquencies to the Credit Bureau
  • Suspending drivers, professional and recreational licenses
  • Freezing and seizing assets held in a financial institution
  • Placing liens on certain property
  • Orders to seek employment and report back to the agency
  • Blocking a person’s ability to obtain a Passport (back support must be greater than $2500)
  • Intercepting Lump Sum payments such as bonuses, lottery/casino winnings, and insurance settlements

Legal Enforcement Actions include;

  • Civil Contempt charge – this may result in either a 30, 60 or 90-day jail sentence depending on the number of prior contempt actions for this case.
  • Criminal Non Support charge – this action may be taken at the discretion of the agency on their most difficult cases. This action is an F5 Felony. When the agency has exhausted all Administrative and Legal actions and/or the location of the Non-Residential Parent is unknown, the agency may consider this action.
MODIFYING A CHILD SUPPORT ORDER

A Review & Adjustment (commonly known as a Modification) is the process by which a child support obligation is reviewed to reflect the current financial situation and circumstances of the parties. Either party may request a review and adjustment through the child support agency and this process can take several weeks to complete.

There are very specific reasons why the child support agency can modify your support order. If you are looking to modify your order for any other reason than those listed below, you may petition the court on your own or seek private legal counsel to do so for you. This agency is limited to the following reasons;

  • It has been at least 36 months since the order was established or last modified
  • The existing order established a minimum support order due to the unemployment/underemployment of one of the parties and that party is no longer unemployed/underemployed.
  • Either parent’s income/assets has changed by at least 30%
  • Either parent has become unemployed or laid off due to circumstances beyond their control and the unemployment or lay off is expected to last more than 30 days
  • Either parent has become unemployed due to a plant closing or mass layoff
  • Either parent has become permanently disabled
  • Either parent has been institutionalized or incarcerated and cannot pay support for the duration of the child’s minority
  • Either parent has had an increase/decrease in child care or health insurance costs
  • A parent has been called to active military duty for more than 30 days
  • The child support obligation has terminated for one or more children of the order and a support obligation still exists for another child(ren) subject to this order
  • Either parent requests access to available or improved health insurance for the child
  • The child support/medical support order currently in place was issued in accordance with old statute and private health insurance that was ordered is no longer accessible or reasonable in cost
  • The current order which contains a provision for cash medical support is no longer reasonable as the parent’s annual gross income is now below 150% of the federal poverty level

Adjustment & Review Request

To request a Review & Adjustment of your support order, download, complete, print, and return the application to our agency. You will receive notification of whether your request has been accepted/denied within 15 days of receipt. 

TERMINATION OF A CHILD SUPPORT ORDER

The child support agency is responsible for recommending a date in which the child support order should terminate. After the agency performs an investigation, this recommendation is mailed to the parties with an opportunity for objections (within a specific time period). If no objection is received, the recommendation is filed with the courts to make it a final and enforceable order.

It is the responsibility of the Residential Parent to notify the agency of any reason for which the child support order should terminate.

Reasons for termination include;

  • The child is 18 and no longer attending an accredited high school on a full-time basis, whichever event occurs last, but shall not exceed the age of 19 (unless the court order specifically states support shall continue past the age of majority).
  • The child’s death
  • The child’s marriage
  • The child’s emancipation
  • The child’s enlistment in the armed services
  • The child’s deportation
  • A change in the legal custody of the child
  • The child’s adoption
  • The death of the Obligor/Non-Residential Parent
  • The parents marry or remarry and are residing together and no other person has legal custody.

If there are other reasons you feel the child support order should be terminated but are not listed above, the agency cannot pursue termination of the order. However, you may petition the court on your own and ask that they consider terminating the child support order.

It may also be possible that the parties enter into an agreement to terminate the child support order and sign a voluntary consent agreeing to do so. You may contact the agency for more information on this option.

COLLECTION AND DISBURSEMENT OF CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS

OPTIONS AVAILABLE TO PAY CHILD SUPPORT

There are several ways in which to make a child support payment.

If you are employed, payments must be deducted from your earnings. The Child Support Agency will issue an Income Withholding Order to your employer and they are required by law to comply with this order. As the person responsible for child support, you must make these payments on your own UNTIL you see they are being deducted from your earnings.

Here is how to make payments on your own;

    • Mail – You can mail a Money Order, Personal Check or Certified Check to Ohio’s centralized collection and disbursement unit:
OHIO CSPC
PO Box 182372
Columbus, OH 43218

YOU MUST MAKE SURE THAT YOUR PAYMENT CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION:

1. Your Name & the Name of the other parent

2. Your Child Support Case No. (begins with #7) & the Order No. (if you have this information)

3. Your Social Security Number

4. If you are sending payment for multiple cases/children, you MUST indicate how much is to be applied to each case. Failure to do so will delay the processing of this payment for several days.

    • MoneyGram – You may make your payment at WalMart or CVS via MoneyGram. (USE CODE 14674) Your payment will be sent directly to our centralized collection/disbursement unit in Columbus and will post to your case within 3 days. They accept CASH ONLY for this service and there is a $3.99 fee.
    • Credit or Debit Card – visit https://oh.smartchildsupport.com to pay online using your credit or debit card. You must have a valid email address to use this option. You may also call the IVR (Interactive Voice Response) to make a payment using your card over the phone by calling 1-888-965-2676. THERE IS NO FEE TO MAKE A PAYMENT USING YOUR CREDIT OR DEBIT CARD!!

       

OPTIONS AVAILABLE TO RECEIVE CHILD SUPPORT

If you are new to the child support system, you may receive a PAPER CHECK for a short period. However, all child support payments are required to be either disbursed by direct deposit into a checking or savings account or on a child support debit card. You should receive communication from Ohio Child Support Payment Central requesting that you choose a method to receive payments. Failure to respond will automatically result in a debit card being issued to you.

    • Direct Deposit – Payments are deposited directly into your bank account. This is a quick and convenient method to receive your payments. To enroll in direct deposit, visit https://oh.smartchildsupport.com.
    • Debit Card – A NEW Child Support Debit Card is now available.  The smiONE VISA card (which has replaced the e-QuickPay Debit Card) is available as of July 1, 2019.  If you are an existing e-QuickPay Debit Card holder, you should have received your NEW replacement smiONE card in the mail as of July 1, 2019.  If you have not – you can call 855-279-2744 to request one.  Balances from the old e-QuickPay card will NOT transfer over to the new card – you must spend the card down.  The new smiONE card has many added features such as;  Better security with the EMV Chip, tap and go feature, Mobile Wallet capability (Apple Pay/Google Pay), make other deposits to your card (such as direct deposit from your employer), a mobile app which will allow you to easily activate your card, check balances, set up alerts, track spending and pay bills.  You can also deposit CASH to this card. To enroll in the smiONE Visa Debit Card, visit https://oh.smartchildsupport.com.
WEB PORTAL

You can get instant access to your child support cases by logging into the Child Support Customer Service Web Portal. 

www.jfs.ohio.gov/ocs

If you are new to the Web Portal, you must first register. Here is what you will need to get started:

  • A personal email account (this email cannot be already registered with another user on the Web Portal).
  • Your 10-digit SETS Case Number (which begins with #7)
  • Your Social Security Number
  • If you are ordered to RECEIVE support on any case, you will need the last 4 digits of your e-quick pay card number or your direct deposit account number or;
  • If you are ordered to PAY support on any case, you will need your 12-digit Web ID number/SETS Participant number. The agency can supply this to you or you may call 1800-686-1556 M-F 8:00-5:00.

Once you have the information needed to register, the above link will take you to the Welcome Screen. From here, click on the link to THE CHILD SUPPORT CUSTOMER SERVICE WEB PORTAL to get started.

Valuable case information will be available to you 24/7 such as;

  • Payment information
  • Availability to print your own Payment History
  • View address, employment and health insurance information
  • Send/Receive messages to your child support Case Worker
  • Register to receive email notifications when payments are made or when the agency needs information from you pertaining to your case

*** Coming Soon *** Ohio Child Support Mobile App

Employer HELP Page and FAQ’s

Click HERE to view valuable information for Employers/Providers of Income – Get answers to the most common questions employers have!

EMPLOYERS

Thank you to all Employers and Income Providers for your part in helping ensure children and families receive the child support they need and count on. Employers account for 70% of all child support collections.

We strive to assist employers with the information and tools necessary to ease the burden that is placed on you.

If the information provided in this section does not answer your question, we invite you to contact us and speak with a representative that can. The best method of communication is by email. If you wish to speak with a representative over the phone, please email and one will contact you immediately. Please include in your email:

  • Your Company Name and Phone Number
  • The Employees Name
  • Last 4 digits of the Employees SSN

Please email: tonya.lock@jfs.ohio.gov and/or christa.bolden@jfs.ohio.gov

Customer Service Phone: 740-295-7561

FREQUENTLY ASKED EMPLOYER QUESTIONS

 

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What do I do if I know my employee has a child support order, but I have not yet received an Income Withholding Order?

You are not required to withhold support payments until you receive an official Income Withholding Notice. The parent who owes support is required to pay any ordered support until the support is deducted from their wages.

What earnings can be used for child support?

Almost any earnings can be used. This includes wages, salary, commissions, bonuses, draws against commissions, profit sharing, vacation pay and any other compensation.

How long after I receive the notice do I begin withholding funds?

Withholding should begin as soon as possible. It must start no later than the first pay period that occurs 14 working days after the date the notice was mailed. The first withheld payment must be forwarded immediately, no later than seven working days after the withholding. Ongoing withholdings should occur during each subsequent pay period.

How long after support is paid to Ohio CSPC will the recipient receive the funds?

Ohio CSPC processes all payments with valid posting information the same day they are received. Ohio CSPC is required to distribute funds within two business days of receipt.

What do I do when my employee says information on the notice is wrong?

Continue to comply with the withholding requirements as detailed in the notice. At any time, you or the employee may contact the issuing agency for clarification or confirmation of the withholding requirements. Please refer to the “Contact Information” section on the last page of the notice for details.

Is there a resource to help determine the appropriate withholdings for employees with multiple child support orders?

Please click on the image below to download a multi-order calculator. Download a PDF with instructions here. This calculator will determine what percentage of the total permissible deductions should be applied to each case/order. Employers should not simply deduct the maximum amount of child support and split equally between the employee’s child support cases.

What should I do if an employee wants to make a voluntary deduction for his or her child support, or increase the amount withheld in excess of what is required?

You should not withhold more than instructed on the Income Withholding Order. If the employee chooses, he or she may make payments on their own in addition to what has been ordered.

What should I do if there is an existing IRS Garnishment for the employee and I receive an Income Withholding for child support?

Federal tax debts take precedence over a child support order IF it was served first. However, the IRS has stated its willingness to accommodate child support withholding orders that are served after IRS levies. It is up to the employee to request this from the IRS.

If I send a payment in error, will it be refunded to me or to my employee?

If a payment is sent in error, you should contact CSPC as soon as possible. If you contact CSPC before the payment is disbursed, CSPC can return the funds to you. If the funds have been disbursed, you will need to contact the CSEA to discuss other potential remedies. 1-888-965-2676

How do I know when to STOP withholding?

You should continue withholding until you receive a “Notice to Payor to Terminate the Withholding” form.

I received an “Income Withholding for Support” and a “Notice to Payor to Terminate the Withholding” on the same day. What do I do?

Verify that both notices pertain to SAME case and order number. Often times, orders will have the same Case Number but have different Order Numbers. These are to be treated as separate orders. You may contact the CSEA to clarify any concerns.

I received an Income Withholding order from another state. Do I send the money to Ohio or the other state?

You must comply with Income Withholding orders from other states. The order will specify where to mail your payment.

Is an employee who has declared bankruptcy still liable for child support payments?

Yes. However, you may receive notice that you are no longer responsible for withholding child support payments if a trustee of the bankruptcy court takes over this task. You should continue withholding until you receive notice from either the bankruptcy court or the agency that issued the order.

I received a non-compliance letter, but I am sending payments. Why did I receive this?

Contact our agency. There may be an issue that needs to be resolved.

Why did I receive an order to deduct $0 per month?

A court or CSEA may have modified an ongoing support order to $0 per month. The income withholding order will outline other specific requirements of the employer such as notifying the CSEA of lump sums or bonuses.

Who do I contact to notify of lump sum payouts to employees?

You may email tonya.lock@jfs.ohio.gov to determine if the lump sum is going to be intercepted or whether you can release it to the employee.

May I combine lump sum notices for multiple employees into one document to send to the CSEA?

Yes. Be sure to clearly identify each employee and each employees respective lump sum amount (if known).

What if the lump sum is for a cash-out of vacation pay?

Any cash-out of vacation pay is considered a lump sum payment and the CSEA should be notified prior to disbursing that to the employee.

Our company insurer provides open enrollment for all health benefit plans once per year. What happens if the employee can’t enroll the children until the open enrollment?

As detailed in the National Medical Support Notice Part B, all enrollments should be made without regard to season/open enrollment restrictions.

What if the insurance company denies the application because the child does not live with the employee or was born out of wedlock?

As detailed in the National Medical Support Notice Part B, enrollment of a child may not be denied because the child does not live with the employee or was born out of wedlock.

Medical, dental and vision insurance are available for our employees and their dependents. Each policy has a separate premium. Do we have to enroll the children in all three policies?

Children should be enrolled in any health, dental or vision plan as stipulated in the National Medical Support Notice Part B, which is sent to your health plan administrator. Any necessary withholding should begin if you determine that it is permitted under state and federal withholding and/or prioritization limitations.

My employee states he/she no longer has to provide health insurance for the child as other insurance is available/in-place. May I stop the coverage?

No. You should continue to comply with the existing medical withholding order until you receive a “Notice Regarding NMSN Withholding Requirements” advising you differently. You may instruct the employee to contact our office to discuss the options available.

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