Every parent has the moral and legal obligation to protect and educate their children, no matter what. For parents who are not in a relationship and live separately, Oklahoma ensures this duty continues while the child is a minor. To help parents better understand child support, our Norman family law attorney explains different laws in place to support children of divorce in Oklahoma.
How Long Does Child Support Last?
One question many divorced parents have is when child support will end. First off, parents cannot waive their obligation to pay child support. In Oklahoma, children are entitled to support until they are 18. However, if the child is in high school when they turn 18, support will continue until they graduate or turn 19.
For parents with more than one child, support will not end once one child is no longer qualified to receive support. Therefore, it is important to take the appropriate steps to recalculate support for the other children and then ask for a revised order from the court.
Once all children are no longer qualified to receive child support, the obligation ends as long as no past-due support is owed. If back child support still needs to be paid, the paying parent’s employer will continue to take out support payments until there is an order to stop doing so.
How Much is Child Support in Oklahoma?
There are a couple of steps to calculate child support in Oklahoma.
- First, each parent’s adjusted gross income must be determined and added to the combined monthly family income.
- Then, using the Oklahoma Child Support Guideline Schedule, you can determine the parents’ base child support.
Generally, the amount of child support in Oklahoma is based on this formula:
- Both parents’ combined income and the number of children in the household.
- Each parent is assigned a percentage of the combined gross monthly family income, which sets how much they must provide in base child support.
- The child's primary custodian will then receive support from the noncustodial parent, also known as the obligor.
How is Child Support Enforced?
To ensure obligor parents make their child support payments, Oklahoma sends an order to the obligor’s employer that directs them to withhold a portion of their earnings for child support. This income is then sent to the Centralized Support Registry from the Department of Human Services in Oklahoma, where it is officially recorded as paid and then forwarded to the custodial parent.
Support can also be obtained through other arrangements if both parents agree to the terms. Rather than using income assignment, the obligor parent could pay through cash, check, bank transfer, or other money transfer methods like Venmo.
Court-ordered child support payments will continue to be due until they are paid in full. Every order states what date the payment must be made, and failure to do so could result in severe consequences. Not paying child support can result in fines, court sanctions, or even losing a driver’s or professional license.
Can Child Support Be Modified?
Child support orders are not always set in stone and, in some cases, may need to be changed. If there has been a “material change in circumstances,” the court may modify or change the original child support order. This change in circumstances must be proven to warrant the modification.
Examples of situations that may require a child support modification include:
- An increase or decrease in the obligor’s income
- An increase or decrease in the obligee’s income
- A change in the needs of the child
If a parent’s expenses have decreased or increased because of other reasons, a modification would not be appropriate as they got remarried. Child support amounts are based on the parent’s income, not expenses.
One last thing to note about child support modifications is that they cannot be made retroactively. Only future payments can be increased or decreased. Because of this, you must contact the court immediately to recalculate and issue a new support order if you believe your child support needs to be modified.
Speak to a Norman Child Support Lawyer Today
Contact a Norman family law attorney for advice if you have additional questions about child support. The attorneys at Redhawk Law thoroughly understand Oklahoma’s child support laws and can provide you with the information you need to make the best possible decision that is in your child’s best interest.
Speak to a Norman child support attorney today by calling our team at (405) 266-5072.