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Rep. Russo's Bipartisan HB 83 Unanimously Passes the House

HB 83 establishes a clear, consistent process across the state of Ohio for child support cases involving third-party caretakers
June 25, 2021
C. Allison Russo News

COLUMBUS — State Rep. Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) today announced the unanimous House passage of House Bill (HB) 83, a bipartisan bill introduced with Rep. Susan Manchester (R-Waynesfield) that would establish a clear, consistent process across the state for Child Support Enforcement Agencies (CSEAs) to investigate the potential establishment and/or redirection of child support for cases involving third-party caretakers. 

“As the opioid crisis continues to rage on, more families are finding themselves in the position of placing children with their relatives or close family friends instead of with their parents,” Rep. Russo said. “However, these third-party caretakers may not be in a position to take legal custody of the child for various financial or logical reasons.  In certain parts of the state, this can result in third-party caretakers being shut out of the process of obtaining child support, since there’s no clearly defined legal path to obtain it.  House Bill 83 removes that uncertainty and provides a clear path for CSEAs and courts to follow in such circumstances.”

As of 2021, there are over 123,000 cases involving caretaker relatives in Ohio’s child support system.  Currently, these families, along with agencies and courts, cobble together solutions for child support with varied results.  Should HB 83 become enacted, the clear, consistent process established for CSEAs to follow across the state would allow child support to follow the child, thus enabling funds to reach the person providing primary care.  HB 83 accomplishes this by:

·         Defining the term “caretaker”,

·         Clarifying that O.R.C. 3119.07 applies to all third-parties with primary care of a child, not just a subset of legal custodians,

·         Providing for an investigation to take place by the CSEA to determine if the third-party has standing as a defined caretaker to request a support order, allowing for both the caretaker and parents to have notice and opportunity to be heard on the issue,

·         Allowing the CSEA, once it has determined that the third-party has standing as a caretaker with no objection, to proceed with establishing a support order for both parents to pay the caretaker pursuant to O.R.C. 3111.01-19 or, if a support order already exists, to redirect the child support payments to the recognized caretaker,

·         Setting a process to follow any time the CSEA is notified of a change with regard to the child, parents, and caretaker,

·         Providing a paper trail for agencies and courts with regard to where the child is residing,

·         Creating a consistent process to be used by all CSEAs.

It now makes its way to the Senate for consideration.