COLUMBUS — Child support owed to many Ohio children can sit in the accounts of the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services for months before it is distributed to families, if it has been collected through an offset of federal income tax refund.
According to Benjamin Johnson, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, when a child support obligor owes more than $500 in overdue support in Ohio, the obligor’s federal tax refund can be seized by the state to pay any child support which is owed.
The situation becomes more complicated when the obligor is remarried, because only the obligor’s portion of a joint tax refund can be used to repay back support.
“If the person who owes the back child support is remarried, the current spouse can file an injured spouse allocation form,” Johnson explained.
The injured spouse allocation form is filed with the Internal Revenue Service to allow the new spouse to protect his or her portion of the couple’s tax refund from being applied toward their spouse’s obligation.
To allow time for this to happen, Johnson said current federal law requires a six-month waiting period once a joint refund has been held to offset back support.