Adjusting Your Child Support Order

Children Support Enforcement Program

Questions and answers about your right to an administrative review.

Parenting is a Partnership

Children benefit when both parents work together to take care of their children's emotional and financial needs. This is true even when the parents are not married to one another. Children have the right to support from both parents. They do not lose this right if their parents divorce or never marry.

When children do not get child support, they may:

  • suffer emotionally and physically
  • have a reduced standard of living
  • not have their basic needs met
  • not support their children when they become parents

Beyond the partnership between parents, other participants exist to help Ohio's children get the support they are due. These partnerships include:

  • parents and child support enforcement agencies (CSEAs)
  • CSEAs and county departments of Job & Family Services, public children services agencies, courts, and health care professionals
  • parents, advocacy groups, and government agencies, federal, state and local governments

These partnerships help children whose parents are divorced or were never married. Many partners must work together with the children's best interests in mind to get children all of the financial, medical, and other benefits they are due. Watch the video below for more on How Child Support Works

This site explains one way in which parents, CSEAs, and courts can work together as parents when an administrative review of a child support order is necessary. Knowing about your right to an administrative review and understanding the review process will help you to be an active and effective partner in child support.

What is an 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. 

Either the custodial or the non-custodial parent can ask the CSEA to do an administrative review. The custodial parent has primary custody of the child. The non-custodial parent is the parent who does not have primary custody of the child and who must pay child support.

When doing an administrative review, the CSEA uses state guideline to objectively review the information provided. It then makes an independent recommendation on the amount of child support that should be paid.

How do I get an administrative review to change my child support order?

There are two reasons a review is done:

  1. The CSEA performs a review on request in certain situations. Either parent can ask for the review.
  2. If the custodial parent receives public assistance, the CSEA must perform a review automatically every three years.

A request for a review can be made at any CSEA in Ohio. If the child support order was begun at a different CSEA, the CSEA you contact will send your request to that CSEA, which will then do the review.

Who can ask for an administrative review?

Any CSEA client can ask for a review to change a child support order if the order is at least three years old. You can also ask for a review if it has been less than three years since your order was set up or reviewed.

If it has been less than three years since your order was set up or reviewed, you must show that one of the following exists to get a review:

  • Either parent's income has changed by 30 percent (up or down). The change is expected to last or has lasted for at least six months.
  • When the order was set up, the non-custodial parent was underemployed or unemployed. Now he or she has a full-time job.
  • The non-custodial parent has been unemployed for at least six months.
  • The non-custodial parent is in jail or in an institution, the child is under the age of 18, and there are no assets available to pay child support.
  • The non-custodial parent is disabled. The CSEA must have proof of the disability from a doctor.

Are there any reasons why an order won't be reviewed?

An order will not be reviewed if any of the following exist:

  • Legal action is pending on the case.
  • The children on the order have legally become adults.
  • The CSEA has determined that reviewing the order would not be in the best interest of the children.
  • The person asking for the review refuses to sign the required application for the CSEA services.
  • The location of the non-custodial parent is not known.

What happens when an administrative review begins?

The following happen when an administrative review is begun:

  • Each parent gets a packet in the mail giving the review data and asking for income information. Each parent has 45 days to return the completed packet to the CSEA.
  • If either parent does not give the CSEA the information it asked for, the CSEA will make a reasonable estimate of that parent's income.
  • Once the CSEA finishes the review, it will file its recommendation with the court and mail it to both parents. Information on the recommendation will not be given over the telephone. The recommendation may be to increase the amount of child support, decrease it, or leave it the same.
  • Each parent has 14 days to object to the recommendation and ask for an administrative hearing. If neither parent objects to the recommendation, the CSEA will file an entry with the court and the child support order will be changed. If either parent objects to the recommendation within the 14 days, the CSEA will schedule an administrative hearing. Both parents will be told of the hearing date by mail.
  • After the administrative hearing, the CSEA will send the recommendation decided on at the administrative hearing to the court.
  • Each parent has 14 days to object to this recommendation and ask for a court hearing, if needed.
  • The effective date on the new child support order will be the same as the review date. The CSEA may have the child support taken from the pay of the non-custodial parent with a wage withholding order. The new amount will show up in the child support check about four weeks from the filing date on the new entry.

Can I stop the administrative review once I've asked for it?

Any requested review can be stopped before its scheduled review date. However, once the CSEA reviews a case, it must issue its recommendation.

Do I need to be present at the review?

No. A CSEA investigator will do the independent desk review as objectively as possible. If you disagree with the recommendation, you can ask for an administrative hearing.

If you have problems or need more information contact:

Office of Child Support Enforcement
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services
30 East Broad Street, 31st Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43266-0423
Phone: (800) 686-1556

Child Support Enforcement Agency: Email

If you have a hearing problem: Phone: (614) 752-3951

How Child Support Works