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State Senator Bill Beagle
Ohio's Child Support Guidelines
As a parent myself, as well as the chairman of the Ohio Commission on
Fatherhood, I know firsthand that all children deserve the best
possible quality of life in order to prepare them for the future. Child
poverty’s devastating effects on families, education and eventually
one’s ability to work are well documented. Improving financial support
for Ohio’s children is why I introduced Senate Bill 125, which aims to
improve our state's child support system.
Over one million children in Ohio are currently part of the child
support system. Unfortunately, the current standards used to determine
child support obligations are outdated and in need of thorough review.
All states are required to establish a standard methodology for child
support obligations that reflects the cost of raising a child. Ohio
uses an “income shares” model, requiring both parents to share the cost
to raise their child. This model takes into account the earnings of
both parents, and allows the courts to estimate the standard of living
for a child within a specific net income level. The amount is
determined using economic data, and a guideline computation worksheet.
Ohio’s economic tables are more than 25 years old, and based on data
from the 1980's.
Senate Bill 125 updates the economic data used for establishing and
modifying child support obligations, as well as the computation
worksheet, allowing for realistic child support orders that are based
on the ability to pay. It is estimated that almost 30 percent of Ohio
families do not receive their current child support obligations. My
hope is that this legislation will help us reach the ultimate goal of
consistent, reliable payments of child support to all children and
caregivers who are owed this commitment.
Along with modernizing the economic tables, Senate Bill 125 includes
necessary improvements for routine medical expense sharing, health
insurance responsibility, daycare credit, and multiple family issues.
This will also move the tables and worksheet from the more rigid Ohio
Revised Code to the Ohio Administrative Code, allowing for more
frequent and necessary adjustments through a five-year rule review
Change is hard – for people and institutions. Modernizing Ohio’s
guidelines to reflect how families live today is critical. Having a
child support system that results in more money for children than
today’s outdated system is a goal worth fighting for. After all, there
is only one chance at childhood. Ohio should do all it can to ensure
every child has the resources to reach their potential as adults.