Parents are responsible for supporting their children until they are emancipated, typically at 18 years of age or when they graduate from high school. Depending on when the parents separate, the noncustodial parent may have to pay child support for up to 18 years. Over that length of time, the parents’ income and the child’s expenses are likely to change. When that happens, parents in Ohio may apply for a modification to the child support order. Either the custodial or noncustodial parent can request a review of the court order.

In order for the court to modify a child support order, there has to be a substantial change in circumstances. If the noncustodial parent received a promotion, completed an advanced degree and started working in a new career field or started to earn a profit in their own business, the custodial parent may be eligible for more child support. The increase isn’t automatic though. A parent has to petition the court to do a review of both parents’ finances to determine an appropriate amount of support for the minor children.

The court may also increase the amount the noncustodial parent has to pay if the child has new expenses. For example, if the child has a medical condition that requires a parent to pay a substantial amount out of their own pocket, they may be able to get more child support to help cover those expenses. New or increased education expenses could also be a good reason for a modification.

There may be a limit to how often a parent can request to modify their child support order. An attorney that focuses on family law might be able to give a parent guidance to help them determine if the time is right to file a petition. Requesting at the wrong time could result in a small increase in support right before the noncustodial parent gets a large raise or the child starts to incur additional expenses.