Once child support is awarded in your divorce decree, your ex-spouse's legal obligation to continue supporting his child is made official. This is true even if you and your child's other parent were never married and your child support order is not affiliated with a divorce decree. If your child's other parent stops paying child support and it becomes past due, Ohio provides several methods for collecting the amount owed to you, including wage garnishment. In Cuyahoga County, these enforcement measures are usually carried out by the Cuyahoga Support Enforcement Agency.
When a child support order is established in Cayahoga County, whether by divorce decree or separate court order, the Cuyahoga Support Enforcement Agency is responsible for its enforcement. In Ohio, all child support cases are subject to income withholding. Therefore, if your child's other parent is employed, CSEA will instruct his employer to deduct child support payments in regular intervals from his paycheck. After a few days of processing, the payments will then be forwarded to you by mail, direct deposit or Ohio e-QuickPay Mastercard. If the parent is receiving benefits from Ohio Bureau of Employment Services, Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation or certain Social Security benefits, CSEA can also withhold income from these sources for payment of child support.
If your child's other parent is self-employed, he is still responsible for paying child support through CSEA. Neither parents nor the court can waive this requirement. Furthermore, any payments made outside of CSEA will be considered gifts and won't be credited against the child support balance. Since income withholding is not possible with self-employment, CSEA will deduct payments from the parent's checking or savings account instead. Unfortunately, a parent's risk of becoming past due is higher when he is self-employed, unemployed or changes jobs frequently.
Past-Due Collection Methods
In addition to collecting and disbursing child support payments, CSEA enforces child support orders. This means that if a parent falls behind, CSEA will pursue the past due debt using a number of enforcement methods at its disposal. CSEA considers a parent in default once he becomes one month or more past due. Once this happens, he is issued a Notice of Default and Potential Action, a warning letter that explains the different ways in which CSEA may collect the past due child support from him. These measures include garnishing an additional 20% from his paycheck, suspension of his driver's license, intercepting his tax refunds, and entering a motion to show cause (a contempt charge filed in court). You or your attorney can also file a motion to show cause with the court.
If there has been a substantial change in circumstances, either your or your child's other parent may contact CSEA and request a modification of the existing child support order. To qualify for review, 36 months must have passed since the order was either established or last considered for modification. CSEA will conduct a review sooner than the 36-month period if special reasons exist, such as a parent's loss of employment, disability or incarceration.