Military families have a special role in our community. These families also have special child support needs. Often, military families are separated from each other and access to support services can be affected. With that in mind, the Clermont County CSEA has developed links to the resources below that can direct military members and their families to the help they need to establish paternity, establish or modify child support, and to enforce ongoing orders.
Applying for child support services
In order to receive child support services, you must complete an Application for Child Support Services. You can find this application by clicking on the Forms tab. The Forms page will open with the link to the application you must complete. If you are receiving TANF benefits in the form of cash assistance, you do not need to complete an Application for Child Support Services because you are already automatically enrolled for services.
If you will be unable to access services through our department for any reason, you may designate another person to receive information about your case while you are away. The release form can be found by clicking on the Forms tab. The form is titled, “Authorization to Release Information Regarding Child Support.” Our agency requires this form even if you have completed a military Power of Attorney designating someone to act on your behalf.
Paternity establishment can provide basic emotional, social and economic ties between a father and his child. Once paternity is established legally, a child gains legal rights and privileges. Among these may be rights to inheritance, rights to the father’s medical and life insurance benefits, social security and possibly veterans’ benefits. The child also has a chance to develop a relationship with the father, and to develop a sense of identity and connection to the “other half” of his or her family.
Affidavit of Acknowledgement
The easiest way to establishment of paternity is for both parents to sign the Affidavit of Acknowledgment. You do not have to file an Application for Child Support Services to sign an Affidavit of Acknowledgement. Both parents must sign it, and this is usually completed at the hospital following the child’s birth. It can also be completed at a later time at the child support agency or local health department. Signatures on the affidavit must be notarized. The affidavit is final sixty days following the last signature. This option is not available if mother is married to another person, or an affidavit has already been filed for this child. If you have doubts about paternity, genetic testing should be requested. Parents do not have to reside in the same state to complete this process. An affidavit can be sent to a military member out of state or oversees. The form can be returned to our office after the member signs the form and has it notarized.
Administrative or Judicial Paternity Finding
If more than one person may be the father of a child, or if you prefer to verify for certain that you are the father of a child born out of wedlock, you may request genetic testing. There is no fee for this testing if you request services through Clermont County CSEA. The test can be scheduled even if you reside outside of the state of Ohio at a lab close to your home or deployment. Once the genetic testing is complete, the CSEA will issue either an administrative or court order which either excludes you as the father of the child, or which will make a paternity finding between father and child. All test results returned will either state a 0% probability of paternity or 99.9% probability of paternity. You will be mailed a copy of the genetic test results.
If you have a minor child for whom you are responsible, a child support order can and should be made.
Each branch of the military has regulations requiring support for a member’s dependents. If there is no support order, or written agreement between the parties, these regulations apply. The amount considered “adequate support” varies, depending upon the service branch.
You can apply for services through your local CSEA if you would like to establish an order to pay child support. Each state, including Ohio, has legislative mandated guidelines that are used in order to determine the appropriate amount of child support to be paid. Ohio will consider a service member’s base pay, special skills pay, bonuses, BAH and BAS, as income when setting a child support order.
If you are on active duty and are unable to attend an administrative or judicial hearing set for the establishment of child support, you should consult the Service member’s Civil Relief Act (SCRA) to determine what your rights and responsibilities are. http://www.military.com/benefits/military-legal-matters/scra/servicemembers-civil-relief-act-overview.html.
If you are a protected member under the Act, you may be able to request a 90 day stay of any administrative or judicial hearing if you are unable to attend because your military duties prevent you from being in the area where the hearing will be held. The link provided above will give you some additional information on the SCRA. If you have any questions regarding whether or not you are covered under the SCRA, you may contact the Armed Forces Legal Assistance Program office. http://legalassistance.law.af.mil/content/locator/php
In Ohio, a support order will generally be in effect until the child of the order reaches the age of 18 and graduates from high school, but no later than age 19.
Every child support order made in the state of Ohio must contain an order that includes medical support for the minor child(ren) This may include either an order to provide employer or military sponsored health insurance or an order to make a payment known as “cash medical support.” If you are ordered to provide health insurance for your minor child and you are in the military, your child will be eligible for TRICARE.
TRICARE is the health care program serving Uniformed Service members, retirees, and their families. While activated, National Guard and Reserve members and their families may also enroll in TRICARE Prime. When inactive, but serving in the Selected Reserve, National Guard and Reserve members and their families may be eligible for TRICARE Reserve Select, but they have to pay a monthly premium. See www.tricare.mil for more information.
For information regarding enrolling your child in TRICARE, your child must first be registered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS). For more information on the enrollment process, please visit https://www.tricare.mil/DEERS. TRICARE has a number of coverage options and you should contact www.tricare.mil for a list of those options.
In the absence of a court order, the servicemember may set up a voluntary allotment. That means that a monthly amount can be removed from the servicemember’s pay and forwarded to the custodial parent for the benefit of the minor child/ren.
The CSEA may modify your child support order through an administrative process known as administrative review and adjustment. At any time you may also go to Court to request that your order be modified. A review may be completed every thirty six months or you may be eligible sooner if you meet one of 14 state mandated criteria. In order to determine whether or not your case qualifies for a review, you may contact our office or you may send in a written request for a modification.
Military personnel who are called to active duty are eligible for a modification of child support. That includes reservists who are being called to active duty. Any modification of child support would terminate at the end of the payer’s active service. If you have any other questions regarding modification, please call our office. (513) 732-7248.
Enforcement of existing child support orders takes place primarily through the income withholding process, otherwise known as wage withholding. If the obligor/payor is in the military the income withholding will be sent to DFAS (Defense Finance and Accounting Service) and the amount of child support the Court ordered to pay will be deducted from the obligor/payor’s income.
The DFAS website for information regarding its services is www.dfas.mil. To reach the page with information about child support income withholding, click on the tab on the left titled Find Garnishment Information. That takes the user to a page with information on child support and spousal support, including frequently asked questions and answers.
If the obligor fails to pay at least one month’s worth of child support, then that person is in default of the court order. In that instance, the CSEA will order the obligor to pay an additional amount of support that is equal to 20% of the current order toward the arrearage until it is paid in full. In addition, the State of Ohio charges an administrative fee of 2% on each ordered payment to help cover operational costs.
The CSEA may use a variety of enforcement techniques and those are; driver’s license suspension, federal and state income tax withholding, and a contempt citation which carries possible jail and other financial penalties.
To avoid any the implementation of these enforcement techniques you should stay in contact with your child support caseworker so that he or she is aware of any problems or changes to your information. You may contact our office during normal business hours at (513) 732-7248 or 1-800-571-0943 and ask to speak to your case worker.
For many returning veterans, employment may be difficult to find and maintain. If you have previously served in the military and are in need of job search assistance, or if you are a disabled veteran, you may contact VA Employment Services at (859) 572-6795. Also available is the Veterans Guide for Academic Aid and Programs.
Veterans Justice Outreach Program (VJOP)
The VJO Program has been developed to ensure that the justice-involved Veteran population at risk for homelessness has access to treatment services, including physical health, substance abuse and other mental health services. If you are a veteran facing criminal charges and are involved in the legal system, this program may be able to assist you. Contact 513-977-6838