_MICHELLE K. SMITH
Attorney at Law, PLLC
4100 Perimeter Center Drive, Suite 230
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73112
FREQUENTLY ASKED OKLAHOMA CHILD SUPPORT QUESTIONS
Below are answers to questions frequently asked by men and women about child support in Oklahoma. Please remember the answers and the information contained on this web site are based on general facts and might not apply to specific factual situations. In addition, this information is based on Oklahoma law. The laws of other states may differ substantially. The information contained on this web site is not meant to be specific legal advice. Always consult a lawyer to apply the law to your specific facts and state.
1) How is child support determined in Oklahoma?
The Oklahoma Legislature created a basic child support guideline. All child support orders within the state of Oklahoma are based upon this guideline. The guidelines were established to calculate the minimum amount of child support to be paid by a parent. The guideline is based upon a complex mathematical formula. Fortunately there is a software program which will calculate the amounts for you.
2) How long is child support supposed to be paid under Oklahoma law?
Child support must be paid until the child's 18th birthday unless the child has not graduated from high school. If the child has not graduated high school then child support continues until the child graduates from high school or turns 20, whichever occurs first.
Presently, Oklahoma law does not give judges the power to make a parent support a child beyond the age of 19, unless the child is physically or mentally disabled. However, the parents can agree that child support is to continue into the college years and such an agreement will be enforced by the Family Law Court.
3) How is child support supposed to be paid?
Unless the custodial parent agrees otherwise, child support is typically paid by a wage assignment. This means that the child support payments are to be deducted from the wages of the parent who is obligated to pay child support.
4) How is child support calculated? Oklahoma has a statewide formula (called a guideline) for figuring out how much child support should be paid. HERE to read the Oklahoma child support statute.
Oklahoma Child support guideline calculation depends on:
Child support might also include other costs such as:
5) Can I get child support for the time before the child support order?
Generally you will receive child support from the day that you filed your case asking for child support.
6) How do I know how much the other parent is earning each year for child support purposes?
Oklahoma law 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. To read the actual statute click HERE.
7) How can I estimate my child support amount?
The Oklahoma Department of Human Services offers a free online child support calculator to help you estimate your child support. Click HERE to use the child support calculator.
8) What is the Shared Parenting Credit?
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. Recently the law was modified and now 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. Whether a non-custodial parent who exercises more than 120 overnights receives the shared parenting credit is up to the judge. To learn more about the shared parenting credit click HERE.
9) Will I owe child support if I have my child 50% of the time?
It is possible for one parent to owe child support even though each parent has the child 50% of the time. If one parent earns more than the other parent it is probable that the parent who earns more will owe child support.
10) Can parents agree to pay no child support or to pay a different amount of child support?
If either parent is receiving DHS assistance such as SoonerCare or daycare help the parents cannot agree to less child support unless DHS agrees to the reduction as well.
If neither parent is receiving DHS assistance the parents can agree to deviate from the child support guidelines to pay less or even no child support. The parents must provide reasons for the deviation to the judge and the judge must approve the deviation. A parent can also agree to pay more child support than the guidelines require and that agreement will be binding on the parties. To learn more about deviating from the Oklahoma Child Support Guidelines click HERE.
11) What if the other parent quits working so they won't have to pay child support?
If a judge finds that a parent quit a job in an attempt to pay less child support the judge has the authority to use that parent's previous income for child support purposes or to impute an income to that parent if the judge determines is equitable to do so.
12) My original child support order was entered in Oklahoma. My ex moved to another state but I am still in Oklahoma. Can my ex modify child support in the new state?
No. Under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, UIFSA for short, as long as one parent remains in the state where the original child support was ordered, only that state can modify child support. The only way another state can modify child support is if 1) both parents move out of the state or 2) the parent remaining in the original state agrees in writing to allow the new state to modify child support. Click HERE to read the UIFSA statute.
Michelle K. Smith
Attorney at Law, PLLC
4100 Perimeter Center Drive, Suite 230
Oklahoma City, OK 73112
Phone: (405) 759-2333