Enforcing Child Support

A main objective of the Child Support Enforcement program is to make sure that child support payments are made regularly and in the correct amount. While many non-custodial parents are involved in their children’s lives and are willing to pay child support, lapses of payment do occur. When they do, a family’s budget can be quickly and seriously threatened, and the anxiety the custodial parent feels can easily disrupt the family’s life.

All new support orders are issued with immediate wage withholdings. For older orders, federal law requires that a provision for wage withholding for child support if there is an arrearage in the amount of at least one month’s obligation.

Ohio also has laws which allow our office to use other enforcement techniques, such as seizing state and federal income tax refunds, liens on real or personal property, or seizure and sale of property with the proceeds from the sale applied to the support debt.

Contempt of court proceedings can also be initiated when support payments are not paid as ordered. The non-custodial parent will be summoned to court to show why he or she should not be held in contempt for not paying child support as ordered. Depending on whether it is a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd offense the non-custodial parent could be sentenced to prison for 30, 60 or 90 days.

If a non-custodial parent does not pay child support for a total accumulated period of twenty-six weeks out of one hundred four consecutive weeks, whether or not the twenty-six weeks were consecutive, the non-custodial parent could be guilty of nonsupport of dependents (fifth degree felony) and be subject to possible time in prison and a $5,000 fine.