Under Oklahoma law child support guidelines must be submitted with every court order. Oklahoma follows a set of statutory guidelines based on the parties’ gross income. Numerous other deductions and additions also factor into the calculation. Computer software is needed to make the calculation. Several websites have online calculators to assist in the calculation. Our links page has one to the official child support calculator for Oklahoma.
Generally, the Court uses a parties gross monthly income from all sources to determine child support. One party cannot quit or lower their income to avoid paying child support. The Court can impute an appropriate wage to one party. To verify a parties’ income, a subpoena can be sent to the employer. Oklahoma law also allows you to request the other parent’s income information once per year on or after April 15th. Oklahoma Statute 43 O.S. 118.3 specifically states that on or after April 15th of each year, either parent may make a written request to the other parent for the other parent’s previous tax year W-2 forms, 1099 form, or other wage and tax information. The request has to be officially ‘served’ upon the other parent and filed in the Court. If the other parent does not provide the requested information within ten days and the parent requesting the information then files a Motion to Modify the Court can award attorney fees and court costs. If an obligor (the parent who is ordered to pay child support) is disabled, the Court can substitute the disability payments the children receive for child support. The disabled parent’s income is the amount of SSI or disability payments he/she receives. The Court calculates child support and if the disability payments received by the child(ren) exceeds what the parent would have to pay under the guideline calculation, the Court may substitute those payments as child support. Contact us for more details regarding disability and child support.
Child support may be reduced if the parents share the time the children spend at each other’s homes. Under Oklahoma law the non-custodial parent may receive a shared parenting credit if the parent’s overnights exceed 120 nights per year. If you are granted the shared parenting credit your child support will be reduced by a predetermined percentage. If a parent who received the shared parenting credit for child support fails to exercise a significant amount of overnights that parent may have to reimburse the custodial parent for the difference between the regular child support amount and the reduced child support amount. If both parties have the child 50% of the time, the party who has a higher gross income pays the party with the lower gross income, unless the parties agree otherwise and the Court finds it is in the child’s best interests.
Recently, the Department of Human Services for the State of Oklahoma has become a necessary party to child support court proceedings where one spouse has received any of the state benefits including TANF, food stamps, assisted daycare or Sooner Care. This means that the State must approve your child support guidelines and your court order must include a number of provisions for the payment and collection of child support. Our office knows what needs to be included in such orders and can assist in getting the child support orders approved by the State and the Court.
Child support must be paid until the child becomes 18, unless the child has not graduated from high school. If the child has not graduated high school the child support continues until the child has graduated high school or turns 20, whichever occurs first. Oklahoma law does make special provisions for children who are physically or mentally disabled. Parents may agree that child support is to continue into the college years, provided the parties make their agreement in writing.
All child support is paid by an income assignment or wage garnishment, as per Oklahoma statutes. This means that your employer will deduct an amount of child support from your check, based upon the court ordered garnishment it receives. The parties may agree to deviate from garnishment, however, written proof of payments and receipt of payments, known as a record of payments, will be invaluable during the children’s minority. Keeping good records will prove invaluable for future litigation and to make sure that you will always be credited for what you have paid or received.
Contempt: For family law purposes, Indirect Contempt of Court is the willful violation of a lawful order of the Court. It is often referred to as simply contempt of court or contempt. The punishment for contempt, under Oklahoma law, is a fine and possible jail time. For failing to pay child support it is also punishable by the suspension of any license you have, including driver licenses, hunting licenses or professional licenses. The greatest number of contempt violations occur in the area of support and other child related orders. We will aggressively seek the Court’s assistance in getting the other party to comply with the original Court order and seek attorney fees for you when it is appropriate. Interestingly enough, many family law attorneys have never tried a jury trial because family law cases are tried to the Judge only called bench trials. The exception is contempt cases. A person accused of contempt may be imprisoned if found guilty. Because of this, he/she is entitled to a jury. Our office is familiar and has done jury trials for contempt cases.