Child Support in Oklahoma
Every parent has a legal responsibility to provide for their children. When parents separate, child support must be determined to ensure the child’s needs are met. Parents may not waive their obligation to pay child support. Child support is seen as the right of the child—thus the obligation continues until the child reaches the age of 18.
In Oklahoma, child support is based on each parent’s income along with many other factors. Courts have a duty to set child support using Oklahoma statutory guidelines. Although this amount is presumed to be the correct amount of child support that must be paid, a judge or the parents can sometimes deviate from this amount.
Child Support Guidelines
In Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Child Support Guideline is used to determine the minimum amount of child support.
The amount is based on the following main factors:
- The combined income of both parents
- The number of children
- Health insurance expenses
- Daycare expenses
The guideline will determine each parent’s percentage share of the combined income. This percentage represents each parent’s child support obligation. Typically, the non-custodial parent will owe his or her percentage of the child support to the custodial parent.
If either parent is unemployed, the court will determine the combined income based on:
- Average minimum wage for a 40-hour week
- Earning potential (monthly income for an individual with similar education, experience, and training)
The guideline presumes the parents have a standard visitation schedule—meaning the non-custodial parent has approximately 80-90 overnight visits each year. If a parent exercises at least 120 overnight visits a year, the child support amount will be adjusted using a shared parenting formula.
Shared Parenting Credit in Oklahoma
Shared parenting means each parent has the child at least 120 nights each year. The law presumes that if each parent exercises at least 120 overnight visits, their child support obligation should be adjusted using a complicated formula. If a parent’s overnight visits do not exceed at least 120 overnight visits each year, shared parenting does not apply. Even if a parent has the child 110 nights a year, his or her child support amount will not be adjusted using the shared parenting formula.
Deviation from the Child Support Guideline Amount
Parents can sometimes agree to deviate from the amount of child support obligation. If both parents agree to deviate, they must provide their reasons to the judge and the judge must approve the deviation. If either parent receives assistance from DHS, DHS must also agree to the deviation.
A judge is more likely to approve a deviation to pay less child support in circumstances where there is proof of extreme economic hardship or the child has extraordinary medical needs.
Deductions for Other Children
In Oklahoma, it used to not matter how many other children you have when it came to calculating child support. But under new law, if you have other children living with you, you may get a deduction from your child support obligation. In order to get a deduction, the child living with you must meet the following criteria:
- The child must be your biological or adopted child;
- The child must have been born prior to the child(en) the support order is for; and
- You must be the primary custodian of the child.
If you have other children that meet these requirements, contact Edge Divorce to find out how you can have your child support obligation modified.
Modification of Child Support
Either parent can ask the court to modify child support payments. But there is no guarantee that the court will grant the modification. The most common child support modifications are when there are also modifications in custody, a change in either parent’s income, or changes in daycare expenses or insurance.
Failure to Pay Child Support in Oklahoma
In Oklahoma, failure to pay child support can have serious consequences. Some of the penalties for failure to pay child support include the following:
- Civil Contempt of Court
- Felony Criminal Charges
- Jail time of up to six months and/or fine of up to $500.00
- Revocation, suspension, or nonissuance of a license
Child Support Complications
There are many other considerations regarding child support including taxes, the collection of the funds and how the agreement may change if there is a modification to custody.
Do not leave the determination of child support to chance. Work with an experienced divorce attorney who understands these complicated laws and who will fight for the welfare of your family. Contact the Edge Divorce to schedule a free consultation today.