How Does Parenting Time Affect Child Support?

It is a very common threat from father’s that they are going to fight for half the time so that they do not have to pay child support. Depending on the circumstances of each case, and if the parents make about equal incomes, this is not an empty threat.

However, there has been an important change in the child support law which might make it more difficult for fathers to increase their parenting time simply to get out of paying child support.

The child support statutes vary from state to state. In Ohio, R.C. Section 3119, was modified by H.B. 366. The changes went into effect on March 28, 2019. In addition to altering how child support is calculated, the statue also added language about automatic deviations in child support. Specifically, the new R.C. § 3119.051 states that if a parent has over 90 overnights with the children per year, then he gets an automatic ten percent downward deviation in child support. For reference, 90 overnights is about every other weekend, half the summer, and half the holidays.

How does this make it more difficult to reduce child support to zero?

Before, courts had more discretion in deviating downward. However, now the Ohio Legislature has said that more than 90 overnights equals a ten percent deviation. A one hundred percent deviation downward, while still not impossible, is a lot harder for a court to justify when the legislature has just told them how to rule on an issue.

Certainly there are certain jurisdictions that will still find it fair to grant substantial deviations for parents who have equal time and similar incomes, but the statute makes it harder and it is certainly something your Child Support Attorney should be arguing.

All states will have their own specific statutes that cover scenarios like this, so make sure you speak with your local WSM office to learn more about how we can help you.