Job & Family Services Office of Child Support
Office of Child Support - Services



The Ohio child support program is here to serve the families of Ohio. Applying is free and child support services are available at no additional charge from your local county Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA). Services are not based on your income and anyone residing in Ohio with a child may apply.

Your local CSEA provides these services:

  • Open a Child Support Case
  • Establish Legal Parentage/Paternity
  • Establish a Child and Medical Support Order
  • Provide Options to Pay or Receive Support
  • Enforce the Support Order
  • Change or End a Support Order

How to Apply for Child Support Services  

A child support case may be opened when the CSEA receives: 

  • An application for child support services from either parent or caretaker 
  • A child support order from a court 
  • A request for child support services from another state or country 
  • A referral from the Office of Family Assistance or Protective Services 

Please visit our How to Apply for Child Support Services home page for more information.

Establish Legal Parentage/Paternity  

Paternity means legal fatherhood. Paternity establishment is how a biological father becomes the legal father of his child if he and the mother are not married. If you’re not married when your child is born, your child does not have a legal father. Paternity must be established before the father’s name can appear on the birth certificate. Paternity must also be established before an order for child support can be created. 

Paternity can be established any time before the child becomes 23 years old. Paternity can be determined even if the other parent lives in another state or a foreign country. The Central Paternity Registry maintains a record of paternity establishments for children born out of wedlock in Ohio.

Please visit our Paternity Establishment home page for additional information.


Establish a Child and Medical Support Order  

Support Establishment is the process of creating a legal order which addresses the financial and medical needs of the child(ren). This usually results in a monthly support amount to be paid through the CSEA. The support order will also identify how the medical needs of the child(ren) will be addressed and will direct one or more parties to maintain medical coverage for the child(ren) when it is available at a reasonable cost. To determine the amount of monthly support, the CSEA or court will use the Ohio Child Support Guidelines. The child support guidelines calculator is a great tool to estimate the amount that may be included in your support order and can be found at: Ohio Child Support Calculator.

Please visit our Support Establishment home page for additional information. 

Paying/Receiving Support  

All child support payments in each state are required to be paid through one centralized location.  In Ohio, this is referred to as Child Support Payment Central (CSPC) and is responsible for the collection and disbursement of all Ohio child support payments.

  • Paying Support: There are many options to make support payments at no cost.  Simply visit oh.smartchildsupport.com and choose your preferred method including:
  • Paying through bank account
  • Credit/debit card payments
  • Mobile wallet services such as PayPal, Venmo, Apple Pay and Google Pay
  • Payments by phone
  • Payments by mail
  • Cash payments at participating CSEA’s.

A helpful video on options for making payments can be found at: Easy Child Support Payment Options

  • Receiving Support: If you are receiving support in Ohio, it is mandatory that payments are sent to you electronically.  This provides a faster, simpler, safer way to receive your support payments. Simply visit oh.smartchildsupport.com and choose your preferred method including either:
  • Direct deposit
  • Debit card

A helpful video on options for receiving your support can be found at: Receiving Child Support in Ohio.

Additional information on how to make and receive support payments can be found at: Ohio Child Support Payment Central Overview.

Support Enforcement  

Once the order is final, the CSEA will start enforcing the order. This includes sending an income withholding notice to the employer (or other payor) of the person responsible for paying support. Income withholding ensures that payments are made and distributed timely, while reducing the potential for past due balances to develop. Income withholding is also required by state law. 

It is the responsibility of the CSEA administering the order to monitor payment of the obligation. If payment of the current obligation falls behind, there are a variety of measures to collect past-due support including:

  • Increase in the income withholding amount to pay off past due support
  • Credit reporting
  • State and federal tax offset
  • Drivers and/or professional license suspension
  • Interception of Ohio lottery, casino, or racino winnings
  • Liens
  • Seizure of funds in financial institutions
  • Interception of lump sums or other payouts
  • Civil contempt
  • Criminal penalties for non-payment of support

Changing a Support Order  

Either parent or guardian can ask for a change in the order, also known as a modification or adjustment to the order. Child support orders can be reviewed every 36 months from the date the order was established or the date of the last review. Some orders can be reviewed sooner than the required time frame if certain circumstances are met.

A convenient way to request a review of your order and submit documentation is to send a message in the Child Support Customer Service Web Portal. In the message center select topic “Modify My Order.” For more information on the portal visit https://jfs.ohio.gov/Ocs/

Please visit our Review and Adjustment home page for more information.

Ending a Support Order  

In Ohio, child support typically ends when the child turns 18 or when they graduate from high school, whichever comes later (not to exceed age 19). There are other reasons an order may end prior to this. Please contact your Child Support Agency as soon as possible in advance to ensure your order ends timely.  The CSEA will then review the case to determine if the child support order should end and will issue a recommendation to end the order.

A convenient way to report the date and submit documentation for your child’s high school graduation is to send a message in the Child Support Customer Service Web Portal. In the Message Center, select the topic “Termination of Support.” The CSEA will initiate an investigation to determine if in fact the child support order should end.

Please visit our Ending a Support Order home page for additional information.

Last Reviewed 09/28/2022