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State with massive child support arrears looks to reform laws

There are few issues that provoke stronger emotions between separated parents than deciding who will be the primary caregiver and who will pay support. In spite of a growing trend for courts to order shared parenting and expenses, many states still rely on outdated formulas for calculating child support payments and primary custody. California parents who are having difficulty in either paying support or receiving it can seek assistance through the family court system.

One state apparently has billions of dollars owed in back child support payments. However, efforts are underway to revise some of the laws that govern how support is calculated. While the new bill would not allow for changes to be made retroactively, it could possibly provide relief for those parents who are in the lower income brackets. It is hoped that making support payments more affordable and in line with a parent's actual income will result in more custodial parents receiving their court-ordered support.

It is estimated that only 55 percent of parents who earn between $10,000 and $40,000 are able to make those payments on a regular basis. The lawmaker who submitted the new bill is hoping that it will enable parents to meet their own living expenses while still being able to ensure that their child support payments are made on time. If the bill is enacted into law, it would likely result in reduced amounts for those with lower income while increasing the payments for parents who earn more.

Like many states, Ohio has not revised its child support calculator for many years. Child support can play a vital role in the life of the child for whom it is intended. Many noncustodial parents in California and elsewhere are finding it difficult to meet their child support obligations. When financial difficulties arise, it may be possible to seek a modification of an existing court order by filing a petition that demonstrates a substantial change in circumstances. An experienced and compassionate family law attorney can provide guidance and support in addressing these important issues. 

Source:, "Report: Ohio parents owe billions in unpaid child support", Oct. 8, 2017

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