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How are child support orders issued?

  • If a child is born out of wedlock, either party can call the FCJFS Child Support Enforcement Agency and ask to establish paternity.  Once that happens, a case worker can help get a child support order.  Child support orders are also often issued with a divorce or dissolution. 

How is the amount of support determined?

  • Court or administrative orders determine the legal requirement to pay support and how much that payment will be.  Cases involving children born out of wedlock, or cases involving parents who are married, but separated, are handled through the Court of Domestic Relations.  Cases involving divorce are handled through the Court of Domestic Relations.  

When will I receive my child support check?

  • Once the court or child support enforcement issues an order for support, it takes about 4 to 6 weeks for an employer to incorporate the order into their payroll cycle. The court encourages the absent parent to send in payments on his/her own during this period of time. Once the wage withholding is effective the employer must mail the payment in within 7 days of deducting from the employee’s pay check.

Can taxes be intercepted to pay child support arrearages?

  • Yes, under tax offset, if your account is more than $150 in arrears, the case may be referred for tax offset. If child support enforcement has identified your case for tax offset, the absent parent will receive a notification letter in October or early November. If money is due to the state for past public assistance, the tax intercept will go to the state. If the absent parent should pay off the arrearage at any time after receiving the notification he/she is to contact child support enforcement in this regard. Due to the complexity of the Tax Intercept Program, we may not be able to delete the case from the list.

    Even though you may be paying an additional amount towards the arrearage, this does not exempt you from tax offset program.

What can I do to obtain court-ordered medical coverage for my child?

  • Child Support will direct an employer to add children to the responsible party’s insurance when the following conditions are met:

    • Child Support confirms that there is a court order to provide health insurance for the minor children
    • Child Support has confirmed the responsible party is employed at this place of business
    • Employer verifies that insurance is available and at group rates
    • Employer verifies if the premium cost is reasonable  under state law
    • Employer does not already cover the children

    If an employer refuses to cooperate – or the responsible party switches jobs so often that he/she is not paying required child support and not providing medical insurance as ordered – then Child Support has no alternative but to file contempt charges in court.

What are the various ways to make a child support payment in Fairfield County?

  • A child support payment for a Fairfield County case can be made in a number of different ways.  Cash payments (please have the exact amount, as no change can be provided) can be made in person at the Fairfield County Government Services Building, Fairfield County Job and Family Services, Child Support Enforcement Agency, 239 W. Main St. - 2nd Floor, Lancaster, OH 43130.  Payments can be made via check or money order by mailing the payment to Ohio Child Support Payment Central, P.O. Box 182372, Columbus, OH 43218. 


    Payments can be made online with a credit card by clicking the “Make Payments” icon on our website.  

When does child support terminate? 

  • Ohio law states that child support terminates at the age of 18, unless the child is still in high school.  If the child is still in high school at age 18, child support will terminate upon the child’s graduation, the child leaving school, or their 19th birthday; whichever of these occurs first.

What are the penalties for nonpayment of child support? 

  • Penalties for nonpayment are both administrative and court-ordered. 


    Administrative penalties for default (arrearages exceed your monthly support obligation) consist of tax interception, bank account seizure, reporting delinquency to the credit bureau, passport denial, and driver’s, recreational or professional license suspension. 


    Court-ordered penalties consist of findings of contempt, as well as misdemeanor and felony nonsupport convictions. Contempt is a civil finding, punishable by up to thirty (1st contempt), sixty (2nd contempt), or ninety (3rd contempt) days in jail.  Because contempt is a civil finding and the goal of such a finding is to increase support payments, the nonpaying party is provided an opportunity to extinguish the sentence, prior to it being imposed.  A criminal misdemeanor carries with it a maximum jail sentence of 180 days and five years of community control.  A criminal felony conviction permits a maximum sentence of one year and five years of community control.  To qualify for a contempt or a misdemeanor, the stature requires only that a party not being paying as ordered, whereas a felony requires nonpayment for six of twenty-four months.

Does the faithful payment of child support result in access to the child?

  • No, the payment or nonpayment of child support does not entitle or restrict a party’s parenting time.  Payment or nonpayment of support and parenting time (aka visitation/custody) are entirely separate legal issues.  However, a solid child support payment record may help establish a party as a reliable parent and serve as evidence in a custody hearing.  In Ohio, an unmarried woman who gives birth to a child remains the sole legal custodian absent a court-order to the contrary.  In Fairfield County, Domestic Relations Court is the proper venue for a custody or parenting time filing.

Does the CSEA address parenting time or custody?

  • The CSEA does not have the legal authority to order or enforce parenting time or custody.

Does the CSEA legally represent the custodial parent in court actions?

  • No, legally, the CSEA represents neither the custodial parent, nor the custodial parent.  Our client is the State of Ohio, and our customers are free to hire their own legal representation for child support proceedings.

Does the CSEA have its own Magistrate or Judge?

  • The CSEA has a courtroom and a Magistrate in its building.  While conveniently located, this courtroom and Magistrate are part of the Fairfield County Court of Common Pleas – Domestic Relations Division, and operate entirely separate from and independent of the CSEA.