Your child support obligation had a clear and definite beginning: a court order from your divorce, dissolution, parenting or separation case, or administrative action through CSEA. And while that order made a statement about when child support payments would end, it most likely was silent about how exactly that would happen. When the time comes for child support in your case to terminate, what are the steps? Who is responsible for getting the ball rolling? Here are the fundamentals of how to stop child support in Ohio.
When Does Child Support Stop?
Most of the time, child support ends when a child reaches age 18, which is the age of majority in Ohio. However, child support does not end automatically as of the child’s eighteenth birthday, and may terminate earlier or later in certain circumstances, such as:
- The child is 18, but continues to attend an accredited high school on a full-time basis;
- The child is 19 years old, and the order for child support does not require support to continue past the child’s nineteenth birthday;
- There has been a change in the allocation of parenting rights and responsibilities (custody) for the child;
- The child is adopted;
- The child gets married;
- The child enlists in the military on a full-time basis;
- The child is legally emancipated;
- The child is deported;
- The payer or recipient of child support is a grandparent, and the status of the child or his/her parent has changed;
- The obligor (parent who pays child support) has died; or
- The child has died.
While a child reaching the age of eighteen is the most common reason for needing to stop child support, as you can see, there are many reasons why you might need to do so.
Who is Responsible for Stopping Child Support?
The recipient of child support, or obligee, is responsible for notifying the child support enforcement agency (CSEA) that child support should end. If you are required to pay child support, you may not feel comfortable waiting for the obligee to take the lead in this situation, and that is fine; you can also contact the CSEA to let the agency know that it will soon be time for payments to end. An obligee who willfully fails to notify the CSEA that there is a reason that child support should terminate is in contempt of court, however, so there is a powerful incentive to comply with this obligation.
What Are the Mechanics of Stopping Child Support?
Ohio Revised Code section 3119.87 says that an obligee must give the CSEA notice that a reason for the termination of child support is imminent. The Ohio Administrative Code section 5101:12-60-50 indicates that upon receiving notice, the CSEA is required to initiate an administrative termination in most circumstances, including when the reason for termination of child support is one of those listed above.
The CSEA may send an emancipation notice to you and your child’s other parent prior to your child’s eighteenth birthday. If your child is still attending school full-time, and child support is to continue past age eighteen on that basis, the parent receiving support will need to have a School Enrollment Verification Form completed and signed by the school and returned to the CSEA so that the agency can confirm the child’s continued enrollment, as well as projected graduation.
What if There is Overdue Child Support When the Order is Terminated?
Terminating the child support order means that there will not be any new child support due after the date of the termination. If you owe back child support (arrearages), or back child support is owed to you, the obligation doesn’t go away and must still be paid. Typically, the child support payment will stay the same amount as it had been before the current support obligation terminated until the back child support is paid in full.
What if Child Support Has Been Overpaid When the Order is Terminated?
It is a less frequent occurrence than overdue child support, but sometimes, child support is overpaid. If that is the case, and the overpayment is at least $150 as established by court or administrative order, the CSEA can potentially submit the obligee to the Ohio Department of Taxation for state tax offset. CSEAs can also stop a child support obligation ahead of time so the overpayment is applied to current support as it comes due.
What if I Need Help Terminating a Support Order?
If you have further questions about terminating a child support order, or are having difficulties getting an order terminated, we invite you to contact our law office to get the answers and assistance you need. Be aware that, effective February 2019, there will be some changes to Ohio child support laws, including termination of support. In an upcoming blog post, we will share details of what you need to know regarding these changes.
You may also be interested in: