Failing to Pay Child Support in Ohio
If your child’s father or mother is behind on child support payments or has stopped paying child support, you have options for recourse in the state of Ohio. Below, you’ll find some information on failure to pay child support in Ohio, including resources for obtaining back payments.
Violation of Court Order vs. Violation of Agreement
The first thing you will want to understand is whether the paying parent is violating an order of the court or a personal agreement. If you have an order from an Ohio court — as part of a divorce order or other legal proceeding — the court can exercise its power to enforce that order. The court can find the paying parent in contempt.
If the paying parent is violating a personal agreement between the two of you, however, the court does not have immediate power to enforce that agreement. You have the option to petition the court for an order regarding child support, which will trigger the court’s authority over your subsequent agreement. The court might set a different amount than you agreed to originally, based on Ohio’s child support guidelines.
Penalties for Failing to Pay Child Support in Ohio
Ohio takes nonpayment of child support very seriously. If a paying parent is behind or has stopped paying altogether, a court or state agency has broad punitive powers. Consequences to the paying parent can include:
- Jail time (by way of contempt of court)
- Wage garnishment
- Seizure of tax refunds
- Property liens
- Driver’s license suspension
- Professional license suspension
These consequences are meant to encourage payment as part of a civil process. If a parent is extremely behind on payments (more than 26 weeks or amounting to more than $5,000), Ohio allows for criminal penalties. Depending on the circumstances, these actions can carry misdemeanor or felony sentences.
Ohio’s State and County Resources
Ohio has numerous resources for parents who are dealing with unpaid child support. The state’s Child Support Enforcement Agencies (CSEAs), which are set up by county, are designed to address this exact issue. Usually, paying parents will arrange for child support to be paid through a CSEA, rather than paying the other parent directly. Therefore, the CSEA will often already know when payments are late or have not been paid.
The CSEA will be able to assist parents with locating the paying parent if he or she has fallen out of contact, with collecting payments, and with child support order enforcement. Like the courts, CSEAs in Ohio have the power to place consequences on the paying parent for failure to pay child support. More information about these agencies can be accessed online by searching for the CSEA in your county.
If support payments for your children have been late or have stopped, contact Dawes Legal, LLC, at (614) 733-9999. Our office can help you file the appropriate documents for court enforcement and can help you activate resources in your county.