Emancipation and/or Termination of a Support Order

The state of Ohio handles the termination of child support orders judicially and not administratively.  Because of this the process is not quick.  The more the parties know in advance, the more the CSEA can get a jump on processing the cases more expediently. The residential or custodial parent of a child support order is the person who is responsible for notifying the CSEA when there is a reason to terminate a child support order.  That being said, the nonresidential or noncustodial parent can contact the CSEA at any time if he or she knows there is a reason for child support to terminate. The reasons to terminate a child support order include but are not limited to:

  • The child has reached eighteen (18) years of age and is no longer attending an accredited high school on a full time basis (unless otherwise stated in the order);
  • The child has reached nineteen (19) years of age while still attending an accredited high school on a full time basis (unless otherwise stated in the order);
  • The child has reached the age of eighteen (18) years of age and has graduated from an accredited high school;
  • The child’s death;
  • The child’s marriage;
  • The child’s enlistment in the armed services when the child no longer attends an accredited high school on a full time basis;
  • The child’s deportation;
  • A change of legal custody of the child;
  • The child is adopted;
  • The obligor’s death;
  • The parties of the case (re)marry

Emancipation – The Most Common Reason for Termination of Support

The most common reason to terminate a child support order is due to the emancipation of a child.  When a child has reached the age of eighteen (18) years and has either graduated from an accredited high school or is no longer attending an accredited high school on a full time basis OR is nineteen (19) years of age while still attending an accredited high school on a full time basis, that child is considered emancipated.

Administrative Termination of Child Support

When a child support order starts out administratively (through the CSEA and not through the courts) and has never gone through the court for enforcement, the child support order is terminated administratively.  The process for Administrative Terminations is as follows:

  • The Support Officer is notified that the child will turn eighteen (18) years of age soon;
  • The Support Officer will send a request to the child’s high school and/or custodial parent to obtain the child’s graduation status/expected date (the custodial parent has fourteen (14) days to respond);
  • The Support Officer will review the information provided by the high school and/or custodial parent and determine the date of emancipation of the child;

If we are emancipating the last child or children on the order or the only child or children on the order:

  • The parties to the case will receive Findings and Recommendations from us advising of the emancipation date(s), the arrears owed (if any), the set amount to pay back the arrears owed (if any), and processing fees;
  • Depending on the amount of arrears owed, if any, the parties may also receive an Administrative Escrow Order to avoid an overpayment on the case;
  • The parties have thirty (30) days to object to the Findings and Recommendations and request an administrative hearing;
  • If a hearing isn’t requested within thirty (30) days, the termination order is filed and mailed to the parties;
  • The parties have thirty (30) days to object to the order by filing an objection at Medina Domestic Relations Court. Failure to object within thirty (30) days will make the administrative order final.

If we are emancipating a child or children and there is at least one remaining child on the order:

  • The parties will receive a Notice of Hearing from the CSEA providing the hearing date to appear with financial information and the name(s) and emancipation date(s) of the child(ren) that needs to be emancipated;
  • There will also be Findings enclosed with this notice advising the parties of the intended amount to be collected as child support for the remaining child(ren), for the arrears owed (if any), for cash medical (if applicable) and processing fees;
  • The hearing, which includes the CSEA Administrative Officer, the Support Officer and the parties to the case, is held whether the parties appear or not. If the parties do not appear with the financial information listed in the notice, the CSEA will make its’ own reasonable assumptions to insure a fair and equitable calculation of the child support order;
  • If one or both parties appear and updated financial information is provided, the hearing officer will take this information into consideration and updated figures will be imputed in the guidelines;
  • The amended order terminating support for the emancipated child and modifying support for the remaining child(ren) will be mailed to both parties. The parties have thirty (30) days to object to the order at Medina Domestic Relations Court.

Court Termination of Child Support

A majority of child support cases end up going through the court process, even if they didn’t start out there.  Cases that started out in the court (Dissolution or Divorce Orders, Juvenile Court Orders) stay in the court.  Administrative Orders that started out at the CSEA and made their way to the court through enforcement or by the parties directly also stay with the court.  In Medina County, if a child support case has made its way to the court for any reason, it stays with the court.  The Court Termination process is as follows:

  • The Support Officer is notified that the child will turn eighteen (18) years of age soon;
  • The Support Officer will send a request to the child’s high school and/or custodial parent to obtain the child’s graduation status/expected date (the custodial parent has fourteen (14) days to respond);
  • The Support Officer will review the information provided by the high school and/or custodial parent and determine the date of emancipation of the child;
  • After verifying the addresses for the payor and payee, the Support Officer mails an Advance Notice of Termination to them which advises of the agency’s intention to refer their case to court to emancipate and terminate support for the child emancipating. The letter provides the date of emancipation, the date the case will be referred, and the amount and date that support will be held in escrow for the emancipating child. The parties have fourteen (14) days to object;
  • After fourteen (14) days the case is referred to the Medina County Prosecutors Office for Emancipation/Termination of child support for the emancipating child;
  • The court will set a hearing date and mail a hearing notice if there is a remaining child or children on the case. Both parties should attend as the court can impute income if the parties do not provide current income. If the parties have an issue with the hearing date, they need to contact the court.  The CSEA cannot reschedule hearing dates;
  • The court will set a non-oral hearing date if there are no remaining children on the case. The child support will be terminated and the escrow order released;
  • The CSEA will receive a copy of the termination order from the court directly. The child support and medical support will be terminated on the date stated in the court order;
  • If no arrears are owed, a termination of withholding will be issued to the payor’s employer as will a termination of NMSN (if applicable). The money held in escrow will be released to the case and refunded to the payor (if applicable);
  • If arrears are owed on the case, the court will establish a payment on arrears. The child support order and the NMSN will be terminated on the date of emancipation per the court order. A termination of NMSN will be sent to the employer and an amended income withholding will be issued to the employer for collection of arrears only;
  • The Support Officer will be notified when the arrears are paid in full and a termination of withholding will be sent to the payor’s employer. If the payor receives several refunded payments from the CSEA, he/she may want to contact the payroll department to see if the termination of withholding was received. The CSEA may have to issue another termination of withholding;
  • The child support case will be set for closure in sixty (60 days). This gives both parties time to object to the closure. After sixty (60) days the case will close as there are no minor children and the arrears have been paid in full.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why is money still being garnished from my paycheck?

Ohio does not administratively terminate child support orders.  You may have provided us with verification that a child has emancipated, a custody change order, a death certificate, etc. but we cannot terminate an income withholding order (wage garnishment) until an order states we can. Often times payments are escrowed (held) and not disbursed to the case while a termination of support is pending.  You don’t want to overpay and we don’t want you to overpay.

What if my child is no longer in the home?

Regardless of the age of the child in question, we cannot terminate a child support order without a court order.  If the child is five (5) months old or seventeen (17) years old and resides with a grandparent (friend, aunt, uncle, etc.) instead of the mother, we can’t terminate support unless there is an order granting custody to third party.  This also applies to Temporary Custody Orders.  The custody order must be finalized for us to proceed with termination or redirection of support. If a change of custody order is not filed the support will keep going to the custodial parent. No exceptions.

There’s a custody change order, why isn’t my support terminated (Redirection of Support)?

Often times when there is a custody change order to a third party (anyone other than the parents) and there is a support order already in place, a redirect of support is often stated in the order. A redirection of support will simply add the third party to the case and the current obligations will then be redirected to them.  Current obligations (child support, medical support, and medical coverage) will terminate to the former custodial parent and be redirected to the new third party.  The arrears to the former custodial parent will remain owed to the custodial parent.

The child has moved in with the other parent who’s ordered to pay support, now what?

As previously stated, Ohio cannot terminate support without a court order. If your child now resides with you and no longer with the custodial parent, you need to file a motion to modify custody.  We cannot send a termination of income withholding to your employer. Support will keep coming in and going out to the custodial parent unless and until we receive an order from the court stating otherwise.

What if the parties get married to each other or remarry each other?

Please provide our agency with a copy of the marriage certificate.  We can terminate support based the parties being married, however, unless specified in the order, the arrears owed will remain on our system for collection.

  • If the order is an administrative order and has never been to court, the arrears due the client can be removed. However, any arrears owed to the state of Ohio will remain and the CSEA will collect until paid in full.
  • If the order is a court order and needs to be referred for termination, a hearing date will be scheduled. If the client wants to waive the arrears owed to her, it is imperative that she attends this hearing. If the client does not appear and waive the arrears due her, they will remain on our system for collection. Arrears owed to the state of Ohio cannot be waived and will remain on our system for collection until they are paid in full.

What happens if the child support payor dies?

If the person obligated to pay child support passes away, the CSEA will obtain a copy of the death certificate and refer the case for termination of support. Because no one but the payor is responsible for the child support arrears, the CSEA may close the case based on the death of the payor. The payee may contact an attorney regarding the payor’s estate and possible collection of arrears that way.

What happens if the child support payee dies?

If the payee or person who receives child support passes away and there are minor children on the case, the CSEA will obtain a copy of the death certificate.  We will also try to find out who has been awarded custody of the minor child(ren).  If the surviving mother/father of the child has custody, we will refer the case for termination of support.  The arrears due the state of Ohio, if any, will remain for collection until the case is paid in full. If a third party has been awarded custody of the minor child(ren), the court will determine the next action to be taken (redirect of support, termination of support, etc.).

What happens if a child on the case dies?

If a child on a case passes away, a death certificate will be obtained and the case will be forwarded to court for termination of support for this child.  The arrears owed to the client/state of Ohio will remain for collection until they are paid in full.

The child on my case is 30 years old, why do I still owe?

There is no statute of limitations in Ohio in regards to arrears owed for child support.  You are responsible for the child support that should have been paid when the “child” was a minor. The CSEA will keep the case open for collection regardless of how old the “child” on the order is or how old the case is.