Cincinnati Family Law & Divorce Blog: Will My Child Support Obligation Be Reduced Based On My Parenting Time?
Courts in Ohio determine child support based on a worksheet. This worksheet includes the incomes of both parents up to a maximum combined income of $300,000, the cost to provide health insurance, and the work related child care costs for the children, which are limited to a certain amount, depending on the age of each child. After providing all necessary inputs, the worksheet determines the guideline child support obligation. This obligation is presumed to be in the best interest of the child(ren). However, the Court can deviate from this presumed amount if the Court finds that such a deviation would be in the best interest of the children. The court can consider many factors when determining whether a deviation is appropriate, some of which include: extended parenting time, the relative financial resources and incomes of the parties, the benefits of either parent’s remarriage or shared living expenses, significant in kind contributions of the parent , the standard of living and circumstances of each parent, the standard of living the child would have enjoyed has the marriage continued, and the responsibility of each parent for the support of others, to name a few.
When the State of Ohio revised the Child Support Statute in 2019, it provided two new specific circumstances under which the Court would consider parenting time when determining child support. The first, provides for an automatic ten percent (10%) reduction in the guideline child support obligation if the Obligor, the parent paying support, has court-ordered parenting time which exceeds ninety (90) overnights per year. This is an automatic reduction completed by checking a box within the child support worksheet.
The second, does not provide for an automatic reduction. The statute provides that if the obligor’s court-ordered parenting time is equal to or exceeds one hundred forty-seven (147) overnights per year, the Court is required to specify its reasoning if it does not provide an additional deviation based on the parenting time of the obligor. What this means is while Court is not obligated to provide for an additional deviation, if it does not, it must justify this decision. As such, a parent with more than 147 overnights per year, has a strong argument for additional reduction is support. However, this may be offset by other factors in the parties’ case, such as a significant disparity in the incomes or financial resources of the parents, or the standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage continued.
Overall, the parenting time exercised by a parent can impact the obligor’s child support obligation. If the parent’s parenting time is more than 90 overnights, but less than 147 overnights, the obligor will be entitled to a 10% reduction in support. If his/her parenting time exceeds 147 overnights, the parent has a strong argument for an additional reduction. However this reduction is up to the Court’s discretion, based on the other relevant factors in that particular case. Finally, parents are always free to agree upon an appropriate amount of child support and often do. When agreeing to an amount that differs from the guideline obligation, the parents must indicate the reasons for their deviation in their written agreement.