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Child Support Frequently Asked Questions


What should I do if I receive a notice of hearing or appointment? The notice of a hearing informs you of when and where the hearing or appointment will be held.  Attendance is required.

How do I dress to attend court? While you are not required to wear a suit as the attorneys are required to do, you should dress neatly and cleanly.  Shorts, tank tops, and torn clothing are not appropriate.

Will the issues of visitation or custody be discussed at this court hearing? Possibly yes. But you can control those discussions by asking for an opportunity to discuss the matter with an attorney or by requesting an opportunity to discuss these issues in greater detail with the opposing attorney outside the courtroom.  Please remember, the CSEA attorney will not assist you on issues concerning companionship or living arrangements of a child.

How can I find an attorney? Phone the Stark County Bar Association 330-453-0685 and ask for an attorney who practices family law.

What if I need an attorney in another state? Once again, phone the Stark County Bar Association and ask for an attorney who practices the type of law you need in that state.

What time should I be present for my court hearing? Please plan on arriving ten to fifteen minutes before your scheduled court hearing.  You are required to go through an electronic metal detector before entering and to sign in at the desk.

What should I bring to the court hearing? Bring proof of your income, health insurance, and child care expenses.  Do not bring any item that may be confiscated by the deputy or food.

Do I bring my child to court? No, unless you are involved in a paternity action and genetic testing is scheduled for that day.  Genetic testing is scheduled at the first hearing when a parentage complaint is filed.


How do I get achild support order established?  If you do not have a child support order established for your children, the local child support agency (CSEA) can assist you.  The child's parent, guardian, legal custodian, or the person with whom the child lives can contact the CSEA for assistance in obtaining an order for payment of child support and health care for the children).  To determine the amount of support a parent is required to pay, the CSEA or the court will use the "Ohio Child Support Guidelines."  Both parents must provide verification of their income for the past six months or provide their most recent income tax returns. Read more about Support Establishment.

How do I get my Child Support Order Adjusted/Modified?  Over a period of time, circumstances change which may require a change in the original child support order; the parties income may increase or decrease as an example. This may reflect a change in the amount of child support paid. If this happens you should contact your child support enforcement agency and request a review of the current order of support.  In order to facilitate this process, you must cooperate and provide all information which the Agency requests.  Failure to provide necessary documentation could result in the agency making assumptions about your income and living circumstances. Link to the review and adjustment page


What does CSEA stand for? CSEA stands for Child Support Enforcement Agency.

What is an Payer? The payer is the person who has been court ordered to pay child or spousal support. Read More about Payer Responsibilities.

What is an Payee? The payee is the person who will receive the court ordered support. Read More about Payee Responsibilities.

What are arrears?  Arrears are past due child support. This could occur for a variety of reasons. 

  • The payer has changed jobs and there is a lapse in time between payments.
  • There is often a lapse in time between the effective date of the support order and the wage garnishment.

What services does the CSEA provide? The CSEA will work to locate non-custodial parents, establish paternity, establish child support and health insurance orders, modify child support orders, and enforce child support orders

Who is eligible to receive these services? Anyone. The CSEA will require the cooperation of those people who are recipients of public assistance to establish paternity, support orders, and enforce support orders.  However, the CSEA will provide services to anyone who makes a request.

Child Support

Who determines the amount of support ordered to pay? The CSEA or Stark County Family Court, based on the Ohio Child Support Guidelines. Read more about Support establishment.

How is the amount of child support calculated? The court, private attorney, or the CSEA calculates the amount using information about your income and the other parent's income, certain expenses and numbers of dependents in a state mandated formula.

What will happen if I just don't pay? 

  • The CSEA will submit the arrears to the Internal Revenue Service and State Treasurer to seize your federal and state income tax funds.
  • The CSEA may file a contempt motion with the court for failure to pay support.  The court can sentence you to jail with a fine.
  • If you have property, the CSEA may place a lien on your property.
  • If you willfully avoid paying court ordered child support, you can be prosecuted criminally for Criminal Non-Support.  If convicted, you can be sentenced to prison for up to 18 months for each child you did not support.  Arrears owed will still be due when released.
  • Your driver’s license or professional license may be revoked.
  • Your passport may be revoked.
  • Your recreational license such as hunting or fishing may be revoked.
  • Your arrears may be submitted to a credit reporting agency.


What if I can't locate the other parent? The time required to find a non-custodial parent depends on how much information is provided.  The complexity of the case and how willing the non-custodial parent is to be found are other factors.  The CSEA is required to make location attempts within 75 days of application.  We review location cases daily.  To begin an effective location, the CSEA must have at least three of the six pieces of information listed below:

  • Other parent's full name
  • Current or previous address
  • Current or previous employer
  • Social security number
  • Date of birth
  • Parents names

How do you enforce a support order across state lines? The interstate process allows the CSEA to establish paternity, establish support orders, enforce support orders, and collect current and unpaid support from non-custodial parents across state lines. Read more about Interstate.

What if I'm receiving OWF benefits?  When you apply for Ohio Works First, you give up (assign) your right to any current support during the period that you are receiving cash assistance. If you were on OWF prior to 10-1-2009, you may also have assigned to the state a portion of your arrearages owed prior to going on OWF.

What is the administrative fee and who pays it?  The Administrative fee (formerly known as poundage) is a 2% processing fee that is charged on all court orders that are registered with the CSEA.  This is the responsibility of the obligor to pay in addition to his monthly ordered support. Ex...An obligor is ordered to pay $100.00 for child support X 2% = $2.00 (So, $100.00 + 2.00 = $102.00 per month)

How often will I receive my support? If your child support is coming from a wage withholding you will receive your support according to the obligor's pay schedule.  For example, if the obligor gets a weekly paycheck you should expect your check within a week of when it is sent from the employer to CSPC.

Stark County Commissioners Executive Director
Stark County Job & Family Services
221 3rd St SE
Canton, OH, US 44702
Stark JFS
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