If you share kids with your spouse, you are required to care for them even if your marriage comes to an end. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have to make child support payments. An Ohio judge will look at a number of factors when deciding whether a formal support order is needed in your case.
Who has primary custody matters
As a general rule, child support is only paid by noncustodial parents. These payments are designed to help the custodial parent pay for food, housing and other necessary expenses that a child incurs. Of course, even in a shared custody arrangement, one parent may need to compensate the other to ensure that a minor is properly cared for.
Paying child support as a custodial parent
If the child’s other parent is unemployed, has a disability or is otherwise financially less stable, you may be required to provide monetary assistance to them so that they can care for the child. The same may be true if you earn more than the other parent since making payments would ensure a consistent lifestyle for your son or daughter. A family law judge may modify a support order if your financial circumstances change for the worse or if your former spouse’s financial circumstances change for the better.
If you are ordered to make child support payments, you must comply with the order until it is modified or dropped. This is generally true even if you are struggling to pay what you owe each month. A failure to make payments in a timely manner may result in jail time, the loss of professional licenses or other penalties.