Portage County Job & Family Services
Child Support Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
In order to help you understand our process and requirements, we have put together a list of Frequency Asked Questions (FAQs) relative to Child Support.
For answers to questions not listed below, e-mail us: Portage_CSEA@odjfs.state.oh.us
Q. How soon after my divorce can do I expect my first child support check?
A. Once Domestic Relations court issues a final
order, the agency should receive the order in 1-2 weeks. A wage
garnishment will issue to the employer of the paying parent who will
begin deducting from his/her paycheck. The entire process normally
takes 6-8 weeks. Prior to the garnishment taking effect, the paying
parent should send payments to:
Q. How long should I wait when I don't receive a check before I call your office?
A. You should always call the Voice Response Unit (VRU) at 1-800-860-2555 first to see if the non-custodial parent made a recent payment. If no payment has been made, wait at least an extra 7 days (beyond the date when you expected payment) before contacting you worker. The agency cannot take enforcement action until the paying parent is at least 30 days behind.
Q. Why don't I get my ordered amount every month?
A. Although child support is administered monthly, it is paid by payroll period. A company multiplies the monthly amount by 12 and divides it by the number of payroll periods. Example: a $200 month order would work out to be $200 x 12 months = $2,400 ÷ 26 pay periods = $92.30 per pay period
Q. Why are my checks for different amounts?
A. There may be any number of reasons, it could be that the paying parent is working sporadic hours and doesn’t always make enough to cover the obligation. Often it is because an extra check came in during that month and the agency’s 2% fee got paid (the fee won’t normally be paid until after your full month’s obligation has been satisfied)
Q. Why can't you get you get an employer of the Non-Custodial Parent to pay the child support when we know they are working?
A. If the employer is known to us we will send a wage garnishment. It is rare that the agency’s wage garnishment is not honored, in such cases we may have to take the employer into court.
Q. I have been ordered to pay my child support to the Child Support Enforcement Division. Can I pay my child support directly to my former spouse rather than to the Child Support Enforcement Division?
A. No. You must follow the support order and pay your child support to the Ohio Child Support Payment Central (CSPC). Any payment of money that you make under a support order to your former spouse that is not made to the CSPC shall not be considered as a payment of support and shall be deemed to be a gift.
Q. My former spouse does not allow me to visit our children even though I have court-ordered visitation. Do I have to pay child support under the support order even though I am not seeing my children under the visitation order?
A. Yes. Child Support and visitation are separate issues. You're former spouses violation of a court order does not mean that you can violate another court order. The Child Support Enforcement Division has no authority to assist you with visitation issues.
Q. How does the IRS TAx Offset program work?
A. If a non-custodial parent is behind in child
support payments by $500 or more, the IRS will seize any refund that
is due. Intercepted IRS refunds are first applied to assigned
arrears (moneys owed to the Ohio Department of Job & Family
Services) once the state’s arrears have been paid, any remaining
money is applied to arrears due the custodial parent. Normally this
money is released upon receipt by the office of child support,
however, in the case of a joint return, the IRS refund must be held
for six (6) months before it is released.
Q. I want to file a Complaint to determine Paternity; will the court address the issue of custody and visitation?
A. No, the court cannot address the issues of custody and visitation until after the court has made the determination of parentage. After the parent/child relationship has been determined to exist, the non-custodial parent can petition the juvenile court to hear the issues of custody and visitation, however the CSEA is unable to assist anyone in this process.
Q. My attorney told me my child support payment would "automatically" be deducted from my pay checks so don't worry about paying, is that true?
A. No. The CSEA will follow the instructions in the divorce order and/or Juvenile Court child support order. Wage withholding orders are to sent to your employer once the CSEA has reviewed the final order, normally the garnishment will not generate the first payment until well after the order is in effect. The Court order states when payments are to begin and end and wage assignments do not supersede the court order. Until wage deductions are in place, you should mail checks or money orders to Ohio Child Support Payment Central (CSPC), PO Box 182372, Columbus Ohio, 43218-2372. Payments must include your name, SSN, SETS Case number and order number
Q. I thought my child support payment would automatically come to my home the same time each month. So where is my check?
A. Child Support, according to state law, is paid to the custodial parent electronically. You may arrange with Ohio Child Support Payment Central (CSPC) to have your payments electronically deposited into your personal account, if you do not elect to do so, CSPC will mail you a debit card towards which your payments will be applied.
Q. When will child support terminate due to emancipation of my child?
A. Emancipation is the legal term that is used
when your child becomes 18 years old or capable of living on his or
her own. Under Ohio Law, children will emancipate when they have
reached their 18th birthday and also have graduated (or withdrawn)
from high school. They must be attending an accredited high school
on a full-time basis for child support to continue beyond their 18th
birthday. Child Support cannot extend beyond the child's 19th
birthday unless the court has ordered this due to the child being
mentally or physically disabled and incapable of being
self-supporting or the parties have agreed to a longer term of
support pursuant to a separation agreement. If arrearages (or past
due amount) are owed at the time of the emancipation, income
withholding will remain in effect for the previously ordered amount
until the arrearages are paid in full.