In January 2001, the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office embarked on an extremely aggressive approach for the enforcement of child support orders by utilizing Ohio Revised Code section 2919.21 as the ultimate child support enforcement tool. Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh dramatically strengthened the existing Criminal Non-Support (CNS) Unit with the appointment of two full-time prosecutors. These two prosecutors are responsible for the prosecution of all the Summit County Child Support Enforcement Agency’s (CSEA) criminal non-support cases throughout all phases of the criminal justice process.
The Criminal Non-Support Unit is responsible for enforcing ORC section 2919.21(A)(2) and (B). According to this section, it is a criminal offense to either “fail to provide adequate support to [one’s] child who is under age eighteen, or a mentally or physically handicapped child who is under age twenty-one,” or to “fail to provide support as established by a court order to another person whom, by court order or decree, the person is legally obligated to support." Under this law, failure to provide support “for a total accumulated period of twenty-six weeks out of one hundred four consecutive weeks, whether or not the twenty-six weeks were consecutive...is a felony of the fifth degree.”
The CNS Unit indicts parents not paying support as a last resort based on the following criteria:
• There must be an active application for child support services on file;
• CSEA must exhaust all other enforcement tools (advance notice of default, income withholding, lien, driver’s license suspension, tax offset, bank account attachment and contempt of court citation) unless special circumstances exist;
• The Absent Parent has not paid for 26 weeks or more within a 104 week period;
• The Custodial Parent must complete a Criminal Non-Support Questionnaire;
• The Absent Parent has a legal obligation to support the child;
• Past due child support totals $5,000 or more, unless special circumstances exist.
The CNS Unit has a legal research analyst, two caseworkers and a victim’s advocate who assist the prosecutors in identifying and preparing non-support cases for criminal prosecution, monitor payments of individuals on probation for criminal non-support and assist victims in understanding the legal process. Additionally, the CNS Unit has two full-time investigators who assist prosecutors in trial preparation and the arrest of individuals with outstanding felony warrants for criminal non-support.
CNS Indictment Criteria
To be considered for possible indictment on criminal non support charges an absent parent (AP) must meet the following criteria:
• Application for Services must be on file.
• AP cannot currently be incarcerated.
• AP has 26 weeks or more of non-payment of child support within a 104 week period.
• At least one child must be unemancipated.
• Summit County order (or other state's registered order).
• Child support arrears totaling $5,000 or more, unless special circumstances exist.
When contacting CSEA, what information should I have available?
Depending on the nature of your situation, the following information may be needed in addition to your SETS case number:
• Name and address of the parent who is obligated to pay support, as well as the parent who is receiving the support payments.
• Copies of the child's birth certificate(s).
• The names and addresses of the obligor's current or recent employer(s) or sources of income.
• The names and addresses of the obligor's friends and relatives with whom the obligor may have contact.
• Information about the income and other assets of the obligor, including, but not limited to, copies of pay stubs, tax returns, bank accounts, investments, property holdings, and professional licenses.
• If paternity is an issue, the names and addresses of all presumed and alleged fathers.
• Copies of relevant court orders.
• Social Security numbers of the parties.
• Any other information with which you would like to provide CSEA.
Who do I contact with questions about my support order?
Please refer to the Important Contact Information sheet to direct you to the appropriate area to meet your specific need. If you are unable to identify the appropriate area to meet your need, contact the CSEA Phone Bank at (330) 643-2765 or toll free in Ohio (800) 726-2765.
I have received child support forms in the mail and do not understand the terminology.
Contact the CSEA Phone Bank at (330) 643-2765 or toll free in Ohio (800) 726-2765.
Now that I have a child support order, what am I required to do?
This is your child support order and you must remain an active participant. It is your responsibility to notify CSEA of certain changes.
Deductions have not begun from my income source, how do I make a payment?
It is your responsibility to ensure your child support obligation is paid in full each month. You must provide CSEA with a current income source. If no income source is available, you must remit payments on your own. CSEA offers several options for making support payments. Do not make direct payments to the Obligee because, by law, direct payments are considered a gift.
Does CSEA provide services to men who are custodial parents?
Yes. CSEA provides services to custodial (and non-custodial) parents regardless of gender.
Circumstances have changed since my order was established. How could I have my order reviewed?
A CSEA Support Officer will review the parties’ case and circumstances to determine if a review can be completed. Orders must meet specific criteria to qualify for the review process. CSEA is unable to guarantee the outcomes as the order could increase, decrease, or remain the same.
Do I need an attorney?
In most cases, retaining private counsel is not necessary. However, situations could arise in which you may want to seek legal advice. CSEA cannot recommend an attorney. The Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys who attend CSEA hearings cannot act as private counsel for CSEA clients as they represent the State of Ohio and therefore no attorney-client relationship exists.
My child now lives with me and I am still paying child support?
Physical custody does not affect your child support order. CSEA cannot assist either party with custody or visitation issues, parties should retain private counsel.
I need to take my children to the doctor and do not have insurance cards. What do I do?
First, read your child support order to verify who is supposed to carry medical insurance for the child(ren). If the other party is ordered to carry insurance, please review the Medical Insurance information sheet and contact the CSEA.
How often can I expect to receive payments?
CSEA is unable to guarantee frequency of payments. If deductions are being received from an employer, frequency of payments will depend on the Obligor’s pay periods.
There is a past amount due on my child support case, how does this get paid?
Additional monies may be added to the monthly obligation. In addition, further Enforcement techniques may be initiated.
What do I do if payments are more than thirty (30) days late AND no income source for the obligor can be located?
Referral to the CSEA’s Legal Division may be made for possible court action. Contact your Child Support Specialist for action.
What are the different options available for receiving payments?
CSEA has two options: Direct Deposit and Ohio E-Quick Pay (Debit MasterCard).
My payment was short, late, or for an incorrect amount, what do I do?
Contact the Child Support Specialist assigned to your case, which will investigate the problem with the income source and contact you with resolution.
Who do I talk to about collecting child support?
Call the Child Support Enforcement Agency at (330)643-2765.
How does the court process work?
Find out here: Court Process
How can someone plead “not guilty” in their arraignment when they are so obviously guilty?
The Magistrate does not have the authority to accept a guilty plea. The Magistrate then assigns the case to a Common Pleas judge who will then set a court date and let the defendant plead.
How can I find out if a person is in jail?
Call the Summit County Jail Registry at (330) 643-2125.
How do I make a complaint regarding police officers and departments?
In Akron, call the Akron Police Department Patrol at (330) 375-2900 and specify that you want to make a complaint on a law enforcement officer. They will direct you to the correct person. In other cities of Summit County, contact the local police department. They will direct you to the correct person.
What happens after a police officer files a report?
An investigation is conducted to determine if charges should be filed.
How do I go about filing a complaint?
Contact the city prosecutor’s office in your area: · Akron City Prosecutor’s Office (375-2730) covers Akron, Bath, Fairlawn, Kenmore, Lakemore, Mogadore, Northampton, Springfield, Richfield · Barberton City Prosecutor’s Office (753-2261) covers Clinton, Coventry, Copley, Franklin, Green, Norton, Portage Lakes · Cuyahoga Falls City Prosecutor’s Office (971-8000) covers Cuyahoga Falls, Monroe Falls, Twinsburg Twp., Boston Twp., Sagamore Hills, Silver Lake, Northfield Village, Hudson, Stow, Tallmadge
Who do I call for consumer complaints?
Contact the Summit County Office of Consumer Affairs at (330) 643-2879 or www.co.summitoh.us/conaffairs.htm. Consumer complaints also may go through the Attorney General’s Office at (800) 282-0515 in Ohio and (614) 466-4986 outside of Ohio.
The results of Prosecutor Walsh’s aggressive approach to the indictment and apprehension of Absent Parents who do not pay their child support has led to the indictment of over 2,900 individuals and the collection of over $20 million since 2001. The aggressive prosecution of parents not paying support has also increased the likelihood that an Absent Parent will begin paying to avoid a felony indictment for criminal non-support and to avoid going to jail or possibly prison.