Child Support

The County Department of Job and Family Services has the responsibility to operate the local Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) and provide child support services to the public. The primary purpose of the Jefferson County CSEA is to ensure that children receive the financial support due to them from the non-custodial parent in families where the parents of the child do not reside together.

The CSEA has the responsibility in such cases to provide the following services:

  • Locate Absent Parents
  • Establish Paternity
  • Establish and Enforce Child Support Orders
  • Establish and Enforce Orders for Health Insurance
  • Review and Distribution of Child Support Payments

Services are provided to both cases on Public Assistance and Non Public Assistance Cases. The majority of the child support cases the agency services are Non Public Assistance Cases. Ohio law requires in all support orders that payments be made through a centralized point of collection in Columbus operated by the state, and the local CSEA has the responsibility to monitor payments and take action when payments stop. CSEA, and are required to cooperate with the establishment and enforcement of support orders. Also while receiving assistance, the child support paid is assigned to the state to help pay for the benefits received.

Individuals who are not on Public Assistance may receive child support services by signing an application for services. There is no cost for the services provided, and both Public Assistance and Non Public Assistance cases receive the same full menu of establishment and enforcement services from the CSEA. Normally the request for services comes from the custodial parent, but limited services may be requested by the non-custodial parent. They may request services from the agency for the establishment of paternity and support, the modification of the support order, and the termination of the support order.

The CSEA has two tracks it may follow to service cases, the administrative track and the judicial track. Certain activities can be performed by the agency administratively under Ohio law, and do not require court action. For example, income withholding notices are sent administratively to employers by the CSEA. However, certain functions do require court action and the CSEA and the court work together in actions which follow the judicial track. The court will have the final decision in actions that follow the judicial track, such as contempt actions for non payment of support. The court also may at times request the CSEA to perform investigations on child support cases that are being heard by the judge or magistrate when they require additional information.

The CSEA must follow state and federal regulations and laws with regard to services provided. One example of this is in actions to establish or modify child support orders, the CSEA is required to use the Ohio Child Support Guidelines formula when determining the amount of the obligation. The court may accept the guideline calculation or it may choose to deviate from the guideline amount. The CSEA, however, may only make a recommendation based on the formula.