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Collecting Child Support

Once a support order is made, the case is open for collection. Child support cases remain open until the children are emancipated and arrearages that may have accrued are paid.

The Cuyahoga Job and Family Services-Office of Child Support (CJFS-OCSS) is the administrative agency responsible for monitoring, collecting and distributing child support payments. Each support case is assigned a number under Ohio’s statewide Support Enforcement Tracking System (SETS). Payments must be made to Ohio Child Support Payment Central (“OCSPC”), a centralized processing center in Columbus, Ohio.

State law requires that the parent ordered to pay support secure the obligation. The most common and preferred method of securing collection is by mandatory income withholding from the parent’s paycheck or other income source. A parent may also be required to fund a bank account from which deductions can be regularly made, to post a cash bond, or to seek work and report employment efforts to the CJFS-OCSS. If these methods are ineffective, a variety of enforcement mechanisms are available to the CJFS-OCSS, without a court order. If the CJFS-OCSS determines that the person paying support is in default the CJFS-OCSS can:
  • Intercept a federal and state tax refund
  • Attach a lump sum payment due to be paid
  • Suspend driver’s license (including commercial license), professional license, or recreational license
  • Seize a financial account
  • Place a lien on real or personal property
  • Report delinquency to a credit bureau
  • Publish a delinquent parent’s name and picture on a “Wanted” poster
  • Notify the United States Department of State not to issue or renew a passport.

The Domestic Relations Court has the power to find a parent who does not obey its order to pay support in contempt of court upon motion filed by a party. Under Ohio Revised Code §2705.05 the penalties are:
  • A fine of up to $250 and a jail sentence of up to 30 days for a first offense
  • A fine of up to $500 and a jail sentence of up to 60 days for a second offense
  • A fine of up to $1,000 and a jail sentence of up to 90 days for a third or subsequent offense.

Requirements when filing non-support motions can be found in Local Rule 20.

Severe cases of non-payment may be referred by the CJFS-OCSS to the office of the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor for charges of criminal non-support.