Lorain County Job & Family Services

Enforcement

Lorain County and other Ohio counties are part of a statewide computer system known as the Support Enforcement Tracking System (SETS). Benefits of the new system include automated case management, non-custodial parents location and tracking, statewide information sharing, and up to date network hardware. Centralized collection, whereby all support payments are remitted to and distributed by an agent of the state was implemented in 2000 although Lorain County does continue to accept some payments at the CSEA.

The State of Ohio continues to make changes and enhancements to SETS to comply with Federal requirements. Many changes have been made to improve the interface between the public assistance computer system and SETS to ensure that public assistance case referrals are processed, and orders are established and enforced so that expenditures for cash and medical assistance are reimbursed by child support obligors.

The trend to use administrative enforcement tools in place of judicial actions relative to child support orders continues. Administrative actions include: SETS automated reporting to Credit Bureau Agencies when arrears exceed two month's obligation; income withholding through an employer or bank account(s); withholding an additional 20% of the current support obligation for payments on arrears when an income withholding order is in place; suspending Driver's, Professional, or Recreational Licenses; intercepting Federal and State Tax refunds; seizing obligor funds through Financial Institution Data Match (FIDM); placing liens on personal and real property; and intercepting lump sum payments (bonus, lump sum vacation payments from an employer, separation lump sum, etc.).

The CSEA staff also initiates judicial enforcement actions through the Lorain County Prosecutor's Office, whose attorneys review cases for litigation, recommend appropriate legal proceedings, conduct pre-trial negotiation and collection activities, and finalize proceedings and appropriate court orders. The attorneys represent the state of Ohio. Judicial enforcement tools include: contempt of a court or administrative order; felony non-support; liens; attachments; and executions.

Default (When your case is in arrears):

An obligor is considered in Default when he/she is behind in payments totaling one month or more of his/her current support obligation. By law, no enforcement actions can be taken before a default notice has been sent to the obligor. (See Terms and Definitions sections – Arrears)

When the obligor owes in excess of one month’s obligation, a Notice of
Default and Potential Action will be automatically generated by SETS. The default notice will be sent to the Obligor warning him/her of possible enforcement remedies that CSEA may take to secure the past due support obligation. When a case goes into Default, this is the beginning of the Enforcement Process.

Other administrative enforcement remedies allowable by law include:

  • SETS automated reporting to Credit Bureau Agencies when arrears exceed two months of obligation
  • Withholding of additional 20% of the current support obligation when an income withholding order is in place
  • Driver’s Professional or Recreation License Suspension
  • Federal and State Tax Refund Intercept
  • Financial Institution Data Match (FIDM)
  • Intercepting a lump sum payment (bonus, lump sum vacation payment from an employer, a separation lump sum, etc.)
  • The CSEA is bound by specific requirements in the law or agency procedure when enforcement actions are taken.

Driver’s License Suspension:

CSEA has the authority to suspend a defaulting obligor’s driver’s license. Prior to this action, the obligor will be sent a notice to their last known address. The obligor who receives such a notice must contact the CSEA immediately to avoid suspension. Various arrangements, including providing a wage withholding source or paying off arrears, may halt the suspension.

Income Withholding:

Most child support is collected through Income Withholding (IW). It is important to report to the CSEA whenever new employment begins and ends or when other income benefits start.

  • If the Obligor is employed, CSEA will issue the IW directly to the employer. The employer will deduct the payments from the Obligor’s wages and send them directly to CSPS (Child Support Payment Central) in Columbus.
  • CSEA also can issue an IW if the Obligor is receiving benefits from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (OBWC), Ohio Bureau of Employment Services/Unemployment Compensation (OBES) and certain Social Security benefits.
  • If the Obligor is self-employed, CSEA can have support payments deducted from a bank account (savings or checking)
  • After payment is received, CSPC can take up to two business days to process it. After processing, funds will be either direct-deposited into a bank account via EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer) or onto the Obligee’s Ohio e-Quick Pay Mastercard.
  • The employer is asked to send payments to OCSPC as often as the Obligor is paid, however, this is not required as long as the monthly obligation is met.

For example, the Obligor is ordered to pay $200 per month in support including fees. The Obligor is ordered to pay $2,400 ($200 per month x 12 months) is support per year. The following formulas demonstrate the estimated amount withheld per check depending on the pay periods the employer uses:

Bi-weekly / 26 pay periods:

Yearly support / 26 pay periods =

Wage withheld per check

$2,400 / 26 =

$ 92.31 per paycheck

Twice per month / 24 pay periods:

Yearly support / 24 pay periods =

Wage withheld per check

$2,400 / 24 =

$100.00 per paycheck

Weekly / 52 pay periods:

Yearly support / 52 pay periods

Wage withheld per check

$2,400 / 52 =

$ 46.16 per paycheck

An additional 2% fee is added onto the Obligor’s support obligation. When monthly payments are received, after the full monthly obligation is fulfilled, the fee will be paid. Some months these fees will not be paid, depending on the number of payments received in that month.

The word "income" includes, but is not limited to:

  • personal earnings
  • workers' compensation payments
  • unemployment compensation benefits
  • pensions
  • annuities
  • allowances
  • private or governmental retirement benefits
  • disability or sick pay
  • insurance proceeds
  • lottery prize awards
  • any form of trust fund or endowment
  • lump-sum payments
  • assets in a financial institution
  • any other payment in money