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Child Support

Lake County Child Support Enforcement

You can contact us by telephone at (440) 350-4000 or log into the state customer service web portal 

This provides online access to send a message to a case manager, report changes, and view/print case and payment information.   

Your Child Support and the IRS Economic Income Payments Questions and Answers

Formed on January 1, 1988, The Child Support Enforcement Division (CSED) is a Federal, State, and local partnership responsible for the collection and enforcement of administrative and court ordered support payments. Under the direction of the Board of Lake County Commissioners and programmatic direction of The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, the CSED is administered locally. The CSED assists families and children in meeting their diverse child support and other related needs in order to promote self-reliance, family stability, and child safety.

Enforcing Child Support

Enforcement of the Child Support Order

A main objective of the Child Support Enforcement program is to make sure that child support payments are made regularly and in the correct amount. While many non-custodial parents are involved in their children’s lives and are willing to pay child support, lapses of payment do occur. When they do, a family’s budget can be quickly and seriously threatened, and the anxiety the custodial parent feels can easily disrupt the family’s life.

In addition to wage withholdings, Ohio law allows our office to utilize other administrative enforcement techniques, which include but are not limited to:

  • Seizing State and Federal income tax returns
  • Suspending driver’s, professional, and recreational licenses
  • Imposing liens on real or personal property with the proceeds of the sale being applied to the support debt
  • Seizing bank accounts
  • Revoking the ability to obtain or renew a passport for out-of-the-country travel
  • Credit Reporting

Cases can also be referred to the Prosecutor’s Office for legal intervention when support payments are not being made. The non-custodial parent will be summoned to court to show why he or she should not be held in contempt for not paying support as ordered, and depending on the offense, can be sentenced to jail.

Establishing Medical and Child Support Orders

The state of Ohio has child support guidelines for establishing child support and medical support orders that all courts and child support agencies are required to use.   The Ohio child support guidelines use a shared incomes model and consider the incomes of both parents, along with other factors, in determining the amount of support to be paid and who will be responsible for providing health insurance for the child.   Court involvement could be necessary for any deviations from these guidelines.

If the case does not need to be heard by a judge, we have arrangements for establishing child support and medical support orders by an administrative procedure. The hearing  may be heard by an administrative hearing officer in our office.

Establishing Paternity

Paternity Establishment And Why It’s Important

Paternity establishment is important for many reasons. Paternity must be established before child support or medical support can be ordered. In nearly all areas of the law, establishing paternity grants children born out of wedlock legal equality with children born during a marriage. In addition, the medical histories of both parents are essential to the healthy development of a child. Further, it is the right of both the child and the father to have a parental relationship established.

The father may acknowledge paternity by completing an Acknowledgement of Paternity Affidavit at the hospital, local registrar’s office, or at the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA). Signing the form is voluntary, and if the alleged father is unsure of paternity, he should ask for genetic testing before signing.  Genetic testing can also be done at the CSEA.  Genetic testing can be court ordered if there is no voluntary admission to paternity or voluntary submission to the testing.

Genetic testing may be done by buccal swabs. The specimen is collected by gently rubbing the cheek inside of the mouth with long swabs, similar to Q-tips. The DNA test utilized with buccal swab specimens is the same DNA test utilized with blood specimens. These tests are used in courts throughout the country and are more than 99% accurate.

Interstate Enforcement

Interstate enforcement are cases in which the parent obligated to pay child support lives in one state and the child and custodial parent live in another. All states are required to pursue establishment and enforcement of support obligations as vigorously for children who live outside their border as for those under their own jurisdiction. Federal law requires states to work through the necessary steps that lead to enforcement within specific time frames.  All agencies use the same forms for processing requests. The process can take longer than establishing/enforcing locally as each state has an independent court system with varying laws, practices and traditions.

When the non-custodial parent’s employer is known, a direct wage withholding order can be sent to the employer, and there may not be a need to request the other states help.

Location Services

To establish the paternity of a child, to obtain an order for support, and in most cases, to enforce that order, we must determine where the alleged father and/or non-custodial parent lives or works. When a claim is made by one person against another, the defendant must be given notice of the legal action taken and the steps necessary to protect his or her rights. To notify the non-custodial parent in advance, either by certified mail or in person, child support officials must have a correct address. If we do not have one, some of the current ways we have to locate non-custodial parents is through: postal verifications, employment verifications, bureau of motor vehicles, Federal Parent Locator Service, credit bureau records, social security administration, military records, courts records, and any other records that may be determined to be helpful.

Review and Adjustment

Adjusting Your Child Support Order, The Administrative Review

An administrative review is a process used when one party to a child support case believes the amount of child support ordered to be paid should be changed because it is too high or too low.

A party to the case may request the Child Support Enforement Agency conduct an Administrative Adjustment Review every 36 months or if one of the below circumstances exists.

  1. The existing order established a minimum or a reduced amount of child support obligation based on the guidelines due to the unemployment or underemployment of one the parents and that parent is no longer unemployed or underemployed.  The requesting party must provide to the CSEA evidence or information supporting an allegation of the change in the employment status.
  2. A parent is unemployed or laid off, beyond the parent’s control for thirty consecutive days.  This does not include seasonal employment.
  3. A parent is unemployed or laid off due to a plant closing or mass layoff as defined in the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, 29 U.S.C. §2101 et seq.  The administrative review request may only be made after the worker’s last day of employment.
  4. A parent is permanently disabled reducing his or her earning ability.  The requestor must provide to the CSEA verification of receipt of benefits administered by the Social Security Administration due to the disability and/or a physician’s complete diagnosis and permanent disability determination.
  5. The payor/obligor is institutionalized and cannot pay support for the duration of the child’s minority and no income or assets are available to the parent which could be levied or attached for support.  The requestor must provide evidence of the institutionalization or incarceration and the inability to pay support during the child’s minority.
  6. The payor/obligor is incarcerated for more than 180 days.  The requestor must provide evidence of incarceration.
  7. A parent has experienced a thirty percent decrease, which is beyond the parent’s control, or a thirty percent increase in gross income or income-producing assets for a period of at least six months and which can reasonably be expected to continue for an extended period of time.  The party requesting the administrative review must provide to the CSEA relevant evidence or information supporting an allegation of a change in status.
  8. The child support order is not in compliance with the Ohio Child Support Guidelines due to the termination of the support obligation for a child of the existing support order.
  9. Parties have children by the same parent in two or more administrative child support orders and want to combine the orders into a single administrative child support order.
  10. A party wants to access available or improved private health insurance coverage that is available for the child.
  11. A parent has experienced an increase or decrease in the cost of ordered health care coverage or child care for the child which is expected to result in a change of more than ten percent to the child support obligation based on the current Child Support Guidelines calculation.  The requesting party must provide to the CSEA relevant evidence or information supporting an allegation of an increase or decrease in the cost of health care or child care.  Note, if the request is based on a change in the cost of health care, the requesting party must provide to the CSEA evidence regarding the total, actual out-of-pocket cost of the health insurance premium.
  12. The health care coverage that is currently being provided in accordance with the child support order is no longer reasonable in cost and/or accessible.
  13. An obligor’s annual gross income is now below 150% of the federal poverty level and should not be ordered to pay cash medical support, issued prior to March 28, 2019 (the federal poverty guidelines can be found at or by contacting the CSEA).
  14. The obligor is a member of the uniformed services who has been called to active service for a period of more than thirty (30) days.
  15. A temporary adjustment order pursuant to OAC rule 5101:12-60-05.2 was issued, the obligor’s term of active military service has ended, and the obligor has provided the CSEA written documentation sufficient to establish that the obligor’s employer has violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, 38 U.S.C. 4301 to 4333.

All child support cases are required to be administered under Ohio law by the local CSEAs.  However, unless a case is designated as a “IV-D case”, the case is considered to be a “non-IV-D case” and is ineligible for certain child support services, including administrative review and adjustment of child support orders.  A “IV-D case” is a case in which a person files an application for child support services with the local CSEA or when children are receiving public assistance such as Ohio Works First, Medicaid, or Foster Care Maintenance.

If you have a “non-IV-D case” and you want an administrative review and adjustment, you must submit to the CSEA a signed application for services to receive an administrative review for adjustment.  You must accept all services available and be subject to all enforcement remedies of the child support enforcement program.  If you do not cooperate with the CSEA in providing all the necessary information to enforce the order, the IV-D case shall be closed for failure to cooperate and no IV-D services shall be provided to you.  Once the IV-D application has been filed with the CSEA and it is accepted, the case becomes a IV-D case.

Within 15 days of receiving your request for an administrative review and adjustment and any required evidence, the CSEA will review your request and determine whether a review should be conducted.

If your request is approved, both parents to the order and any third-party caretakers will be notified of the date of the administrative review.  The notice will be mailed to the last known address of all parties.  The notification will also request that the parents provide financial information, including but not limited to completing a financial affidavit, medical support information, and any other information necessary to properly review the child support order.

If your request is denied, the CSEA will send you notice of denial.

Requesting an administrative review may result in the monthly child support, cash medical support and arrearages repayment order increasing, decreasing, or remaining the same or in a change in the medical support provisions.  Please be aware that you may not with draw your request for an administrative review on or after the scheduled review date.