Often during divorce proceedings in Ohio it is decided which of the parents will be the primary caregiver of the couple's joint children when child custody is determined. In most cases, the non-custodial parent will then be responsible for financially contributing to the living expenses of the children.

Due to the weak economy and a sour job market, it has become increasingly difficult for parents owing child support to meet their financial obligations. In the past, Ohio law has assumed these parents were able to pay but unwilling. However, this unfair stereotype is proving increasingly untrue. An important change to the law regarding child support obligations was included in the recently passed state budget that may help many avoid litigation.

Prior to the change in the law, parents who did not fully make their child support payments could have their driver's or other state-issued professional license suspended. This was troublesome for many as the loss of a driver's license meant they could no longer drive either to work or to find work. That made it only more difficult for them to meet their financial obligations.

The law now states that parents who have paid at least half of their child support payment will no longer face suspension of their license. Moreover, child support enforcement agencies must now look back 90 days before making any determination. In the past, the law only required them to look back one month.

Parents who do not make their child support payments often do so not because they do not want to support their child but because they are barely able to support themselves. Changing the laws to be less harsh should allow parents experiencing financial hardship to get back on their feet and hopefully provide needed support for custodial parents. Nonetheless, an Ohio parent who owes money he or she cannot pay should consult with an experienced Ohio family law attorney. An attorney may be able to initiate a modification with the court to ensure that the child support payment matches the noncustodial parent's current financial situation.

Source: The WTAM 1100, "Changes in child support," Sept. 28, 2011