Frequently Asked Questions
Payment - Court Information - Child Support - Child Support Order
What does CSEA stand for?
CSEA stands for the Child Support Enforcement Agency.
What is an Obligor?
The obligor is the person who has been ordered to pay child or spousal support.
What is an Obligee?
The obligee is the person who will receive court ordered child support or spousal support.
What are arrears?
Arrears are past due child support. This can occur for a variety of reasons.
- The obligor has changed jobs and there is a lapse in time between payments.
- There is often a lapse in time between the effective date of the support order and the wage garnishment.
What does SETS stand for?
SETS stands for Support Enforcement Tracking System which is the State of Ohio’s child support computer system.
What services does the CSEA provide?
The CSEA will work to locate non-custodial parents, establish paternity, establish child support and health insurance orders, modify child support orders and enforce child support orders.
How does SETS determine the amount of my support check?
Incoming payments (collections) are applied in a pre-determined order (hierarchy). “Hierarchy” means a set of rules with higher or lower priorities. The allocation of monies is based on the type of money received from the obligor, employer, lump sum, Federal or State tax refunds, Unemployment Benefits, Workers Compensation, Pensions, etc…
How this money can be applied is determined by the source of the money and regulated by State or Federally mandated rules and regulations.
For the most part, current child support and child support arrears are paid before other obligations. Spousal support and associated arrears are paid next. Medical orders usually come next. After all of the above are paid, other obligations are paid such as paternity testing fee, attorney fees, clothing and day care costs or other special payments. Finally, current and past administrative fees are paid.
Are there exceptions to these priorities?
Payments received from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will be used to reimburse past public assistance received by the custodial parent.
OBES will only be used to pay current child support.
Court orders may affect allocations, the most common occurrence being payments received from the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation (OBWC). Attorney’s representing non-custodial parents may receive a worker’s compensation settlement often to obtain a court order for payment of their fees from the settlement.
Why are withholding orders issued on a monthly amount?
Ohio law requires monthly administration of all orders. To determine how much support would be withheld from each payroll/income cycle, the following formula is used:
Weekly payments = Notice Amount X 12 months divided by 52 weekly payments.
Biweekly payments = Notice Amount X 12 months divided by 26 biweekly payrolls.
Semimonthly payments = Notice Amount X 12 divided by 24 semi-monthly payrolls.
Monthly payments = One (1) payroll per month.
Why is the total amount of my weekly support payment less than the monthly amount ordered?
There are usually 4.3 weeks in each month not just four as most people assume. You will receive the difference in support during those months each where there are 5 weeks in a month. Just as you’re not being “overpaid” when you receive that fifth payment during those months, you are not being “underpaid” in the remaining months.
How often should I receive a support payment?
Keep in mind, upon receipt of the collection of support payments from individuals or employers. Ohio Child Support Payment Central (OCSPC) has 2 business days to process the collection through SETS.
When a withholding order is first issued, the income provider or employer has fourteen (14) days from the date the CSEA issued the withholding notice to be making deductions from their payroll/income cycle. Once the cycle has been completed, the OCSPC has seven (7) days to receive payment.
Can my support payment be delayed for any other reason?
Computer networks are vulnerable to damaged telephone lines, power outages and other technical problems. SETS is no exception.
What if I do not receive a payment within these time frames?
The agency requests that you allow an additional ten days after the receipt of collection before contacting the agency. If you still have not received a payment that was distributed to you, or if you have a question about your payment, please contact the agency at (330) 740-2073 or 1-800-528-9511.
What should I do if I receive a notice of hearing or appointment?
The notice informs you of when and where the hearing or appointment will be held. Attendance is required.
How do I dress to attend court?
While you are not required to wear a suit as the attorneys are required to do, you should dress neatly and cleanly. Shorts, tank tops, and torn clothing are not appropriate.
Will the issues of visitation or custody be discussed at this hearing?
Possibly yes. But you can control those questions by asking an opportunity to discuss this matter with an attorney or by requesting an opportunity to discuss these issues in greater detail with the opposing attorney outside the courtroom. Please remember, the CSEA attorney will not assist you on issues concerning visitation, custody or living arrangements of a child.
How can I find an attorney?
Phone the Mahoning County Bar Association at (330) 746-2933 and ask for an attorney who practices family law.
What if I need an attorney in another state?
Once again, phone the Mahoning County Bar Association at (330) 746-2933 and ask for an attorney who practices the law you need in that state.
What time should I be present for my court hearing?
Please arrive ten to fifteen minutes before your scheduled court hearing. You will be required to go through an electronic search before entering either the Mahoning County Court House or the Juvenile Court.
What should I bring to the court hearing?
Bring proof of your health insurance, child care expenses and income verification.
Do I bring my child to court?
Who determines the amount of support ordered to pay?
The Court or CSEA, based on the State of Ohio Guidelines.
How is the amount of child support calculated?
Support is calculated using information about your income and the other parent’s income, certain expenses and number of dependents in a state mandated formula.
What will happen if I just don’t pay?
- The CSEA will ask the Internal Revenue Service and State Treasury to seize your federal and state income tax funds.
- The court may issue a warrant for your arrest for failure to appear for court. The CSEA files a contempt motion with the court for failure to pay support. The court can sentence you to jail with a fine.
- The CSEA may feature your picture on a “Most Wanted” poster.
- If you willfully avoid paying court ordered child support, you can be prosecuted as a felon for criminal nonsupport under the Ohio Revised Code. If convicted, you can be sentences to prison for up to 18 months for each child you did not support. Your will still owe when released.
- Your drivers license or professional license may be revoked.
- Your passport may be revoked.
- Your pleasure license such as hunting or fishing may be revoked.
- Your arrears may be submitted to a credit reporting agency.
What if I can’t locate the other parent?
The time required to find a non-custodial parent depends on how much information is provided. The complexity of the case and how willing the non-custodial parent is to be found are other factors. The CSEA is required to make location attempts within days of application. To begin effective location, the CSEA must have at least three of the six pieces of information below:
- Other parent’s full name
- Current or previous address
- Current or previous employer
- Social security number
- Date of birth
- Parents names
How do you enforce a support order across state lines?
The interstate process allows the CSEA to establish paternity and establish support orders, enforce support orders and collect current and unpaid support from the non-custodial parent across state lines.
What if I’m receiving OWF benefits?
Both child support and OHIO WORKS FIRST are financial benefits for minor children. Parents pay child support, OHIO WORKS FIRST comes from the taxpayers. If the other is able-bodied, but absent, your OHIO WORKS FIRST benefits are considered a loan because child support is not forth coming. When you apply for OHIO WORKS FIRST, you give up your right to past due child support and all current support you may receive, up to the total amount of the OHIO WORKS FIRST benefits. In other words, the able-bodied non-custodial parent should be paying child support becomes indebted to the state.
What is the administrative fee and who pays it?
The Administrative fee (formerly known as poundage) is a 2% processing fee that the state law charges on all court orders that are registered with the CSEA. This is a responsibility of the obligor to pay in addition to his monthly ordered support.
An obligor is ordered to pay $100.00 for child support X 2% = $2.00
(So, $100.00 + $2.00 = $102.00 per month)
How often will I receive my support?
If your child support is collected from a wage withholding, you will receive your support according to the obligor’s pay schedule. For example, if the obligor gets a weekly paycheck you should expect your check within a week of when it is sent from the employer.
REMEMBER: Child support payments are now processed through Ohio Child Support Payment Central in Columbus, Ohio. The check will go to Columbus first, then processed to you.
Child Support Order Information
How do I get a child support order established?
If you do not have a child support order established for your child/children, the local child support agency will assist you. The child’s parent, guardian, legal custodial or the person whom the child lives can contact the CSEA for assistance in obtaining an order for payment of child support and health care for the child/children. To determine the amount of support a parent is required to pay, the CSEA or court will use the “Ohio Child Support Guidelines.” Both parents must provide verification of their income for the past six months or provide their most current income tax return.
How do I get my child support order adjusted?
Over a period of time, circumstances change which may require a change in the original support order; the parties income may increase or decrease as an example. This may reflect a change in the amount of child support paid. If this has happened you should contact your child support agency and request a review of the current order of support. In order to facilitate this process, you must cooperate with your child support worker and provide all information they request. Failure to provide necessary documentation could result in the agency making assumptions about our income and living circumstances.