Monday, February 12, 2001

How the child-support system works in Ohio

By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The process for determining child-support payments in Ohio begins once paternity is established.

        Typically, a court decides the amount of support using guidelines for people's incomes and expenses. Payments are made weekly, twice a month or monthly, depending on the court order.

        Payments are made to Ohio's Child Support Payment Central, the central bank account operated by Bank One. In more than 70 percent of Ohio cases, the paying parent's employer withholds child-support money and sends it to the account.

        Parents also can pay child support directly to the account by checks, electronic funds transfers or automatic withdrawals from checking accounts.

        Bank One then issues checks to support recipients. The checks bear the signature of Ohio treasurer, Hamilton County native Joe Deters.

        Federal law requires states to process checks in two business days. Employers have up to seven days after withholding income to get it to the state.

        If the parent who pays support moves out of state, the new state is responsible for enforcing payments. All states have laws that enable them to enforce each other's support orders.

        Few Ohio parents with child-support issues can escape the system. Even those who work out private agreements for support must use the system, or risk violating state law. Future disputes over payments also may be harder to resolve without the system.

        When a parent fails to pay, the parent with custody of the child can seek help from local child-support agencies.

        Parents with questions or complaints should call their county child-support agencies or a state toll-free hot line, (800) 686-1556. Employers with questions should call (888) 965-2676.

The check's in the mail
- How the child-support system works in Ohio
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