Can courts deviate from the child support guidelines?

by | Sep 13, 2018 | family law, Firm News

The Ohio child support guidelines provide family law courts with a mathematical computation for determining how much money parents should be obligated to pay in support of their kids. Many factors are considered when a court begins to evaluate the application of the guidelines to a family’s legal case, including but not limited to the amount of money that each parent makes or could make if they were fully employed, the financial obligations the parents have to children not born of the marriage, and others.

When all of the applicable factors care considered and the relevant numbers are plugged into the guidelines’ formula, the court is provided with established amounts that each parent should pay for the benefit of their kids. However, courts may deviate from these established amounts based on certain subjective needs and elements specific to individual child support cases.

For example, if a child suffers from a disability or a condition that requires their parents to provide them with extraordinary educational or medical services, a court may stray from the guidelines. This may be done to increase the parents’ obligations to ensure that the child’s special needs are capable of being financially met.

Also, a court may alter the suggestions of the guidelines if a parent is simply not capable of paying what the guidelines suggest they should provide in child support. A parent who has foregone employment in order to raise children or manage a household may not have any income to share in support with their children.

A court’s decision to diverge from the Ohio child support guidelines will be based on the specific facts of an individual child support case. Guidance from family law professionals should be sought by readers who wish to learn more about how the guidelines may apply to their unique legal dilemmas.