Thursday, January 3, 2013

Ohio Launches Pilot Program Tying Child Support to Visitation Rights

Ohio University’s College of Health Sciences and Professions has announced it will participate in a project backed by federal funds that is meant to increase the time a child spends with both parents, specifically when the parents are no longer married and in the same house. The goal of the project is to have separated parents work more cooperatively together in the best interest of the child.

The Fairfield County Job and Family Services office is in charge of organizing the four-year initiative, estimated to cost $400,000 and officially referred to as Parenting Time Opportunities for Children to the 12th power, or PTOC12. The number 12 is meant to represent the 12 counties participating in the project: Coshocton, Cuyahoga, Fairfield, Franklin, Knox, Licking, Monroe, Pickaway, Stark, Summit, Union and Wayne.

Over the next four years, the state and local support agencies in the various counties will plan strategies meant to help establish visitation rights in coordination with the child support program. Right now, those two aspects of shared parenting are handled totally separately. The goal is to see if tying visitation schedules to child support orders can have a positive impact on the level of compliance with child support orders.

Under the system that is currently in place, if one parent does not pay the required child support amounts, legal action can be undertaken by the other party. However, if the parent with primary custody does not allow the other parent to see a child, there is not much that can be done. By combining both child support and parenting time, the coordinators hope that families will want to maximize shared parenting time and also stay current with child support payments.

The goal is to have the program up and running by the end of next year in Fairfield County and launch it in the other 11 counties sometime thereafter. Those in charge of implementing the new strategies say they will keep careful watch on data collected and determine if their goals are being achieved by tying together the two aspects of child support and visitation. The hope is that because of the widely divergent demographics in the participating counties – urban, rural, ethnic and economic – that the data collected will be helpful in providing a good example for the rest of the state to follow.

If you find yourself facing the prospect of divorce, contact an experienced Ohio family law attorney who can help guide you through the difficult process. Count on the expertise of Twinsburg family law attorney Carol L. Gasper.

Source: “Ohio University takes part in statewide study on separated parenting,” by Arian Smedley, published at

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