Parents have a legal and moral duty to financially support their children, and the court has an interest in ensuring that parents uphold this responsibility as a matter of public policy. When parents divorce or live apart, this is accomplished via court-ordered child support payments (which are often paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent).
If you're divorcing in Oklahoma, and you and your soon-to-be-ex share children, what you'll receive—or pay—in child support may be among your top concerns. Fortunately, child support in the Sooner State isn't a free for all—payment amounts are determined by established guidelines that take into account each parent's income, as well as a variety of other factors. Here's what you need to know about Oklahoma child support, including how our accomplished Tulsa family law attorneys can protect your rights and fight for the support that's in your child's best interest.
How Child Support Payments Are Calculated
Oklahoma uses a complex formula that considers each parent's income and child-rearing responsibilities when setting child support payment amounts. The court starts by adding together the adjusted gross monthly incomes of both parents to determine the combined gross family income. Child support is a percentage of this gross family income, which is divided between both parents, taking into account factors such as:
- Number of children the parents had together
- How much time each parent spends with the children, including the number of overnight stays
- Any additional income either parent receives
- Health insurance expenses
- Cost of schooling and extra-curricular activities
- Daycare expenses
The formula used to calculate child support payments differs for self-employed parents, as well as for those whose monthly combined gross family income exceeds $15,000. For wealthy parents, the court starts with the maximum support from the guideline schedule, then orders an additional amount based on the judge's discretion. Parents can also agree to pay a different amount of support if the court agrees it's in the best interests of the child.
Sound complicated? It can be. Fortunately, our exceptional Oklahoma family law attorneys can help you navigate the child support calculations process, and fight to ensure the amount you pay or receive is fair.
What's Included in a Child Support Order
- Medical and dental expenses
- Educational expenses
Paying Child Support in the Sooner State
In Oklahoma, most child support payments are collected via income assignment, which means payments are withheld from the payee's earnings and forwarded to the recipient parent. Income assignment isn't a garnishment; rather, it's a deduction from the payee's gross earnings, similar to deductions taken for state and federal taxes. Additionally, employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees because of an income assignment. Parents can agree to a different method for paying and receiving child support; however, the alternate arrangement must be approved by the court.
Duration of Support
In most cases, child support payments in Oklahoma continue until the child turns 18. However, if they're still attending high school, support payments keep going until graduation or their 20th birthday. Additionally, parents can choose to extend support payments while their child is in college. The court may also order child support payments to continue indefinitely when an adult child's mental or physical disability prevents them from reaching financial independence.
Let Us Help You Fight for the Support Your Child Deserves
At the Law Office of Aaron D. Bundy, our highly-skilled family law attorneys have helped countless clients resolve their child support-related legal issues. We may be able to do the same for you. Going through a divorce and have concerns about how support payment amounts for your child will be calculated? Need to modify a child support order due to a substantial change in circumstances? Want to discuss enforcement options for when a parent won't pay? We can help. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a private consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.