Cincinnati Family Law & Divorce Blog: How is Child Support Calculated in Ohio?

In Ohio, child support is calculated according to a formula written into state law.  That formula combines the Father’s and Mother’s gross income.  Each parent is allowed certain deductions from gross income.  For example, local income tax paid, child support for other children, or spousal support paid or received.  The adjusted gross income is then applied to a chart which identifies the amount of support required to raise children in their parent’s income category.    The paying parent will pay his or her prorated share of the charted amount.  The child support calculation will also make adjustments if there is private health insurance being paid for the children and/or work related childcare.  This final figure is the calculation of guideline child support and is presumed to be the correct amount of child support.


The guideline child support calculation can be reduced if the Court determines that it is not in the child’s best interest after reviewing specific facts of the case.  These factors are called “deviation factors” and must be considered by Court when examining the appropriateness of guideline child support.  There are 16 deviation factors and a catchall factor that allows the Court to consider anything relevant when making a determination to reduce the child support order.  Common deviation factors include a consideration of the amount of time the children are spending with each parent, additional costs incurred by a parent for the children, or extraordinary travel expenses. This is a very subjective determination by the court.


The Court also has the authority to establish a child support order which exceeds the guidelines – meaning a child support order that is higher than provided by chart in the statute.  The chart which identifies the amount of support required to raise children only includes combined parental income up to $150,000 per year.  Therefore, if parents earn more than $150,000 in combined income the Court must determine, on a case by case basis, whether the guideline calculation is appropriate or if the child support obligation should be increased to meet the needs of these specific children and lifestyle.  The Court will consider the needs and standard of living of the children who are the subject of the child support order and of the parents.


When a court is asked to determine child support, the court may also determine which parent is permitted to claim a child as a dependent for tax purposes.


A court has the authority to order an allocation of certain expenses for the children for things such as tuition and activities. In all cases, a court will determine how uncovered medical expenses for children should be shared between parents.