Every parent has the moral and legal obligation to protect and educate their children, no matter what. For parents that are not in a relationship and live separately, Oklahoma ensures that this duty continues while the child is a minor. To help parents better understand child support, our Norman family law attorney explains different laws that are put 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 receive support until they are 18 years old. However, if the child is in high school at the time they turn 18, support will continue until they either graduate or turn 19 years old.
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 there is no past-due support owed. If there is back child support that 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.
Calculating Oklahoma Child Support
There are a couple of steps to calculate child support in Oklahoma. First, each parent’s adjusted gross income must be determined and then added together to get the combined gross monthly family income.
Then using the Oklahoma Child Support Guideline Schedule, you can determine the parents’ base child support. The guideline schedule is based on 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 primary custodian of the child will then receive support from the noncustodial parent, also known as the obligor.
How is Child Support Enforced?
To make sure obligor parents are making 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, for example.
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 serious consequences. Not paying child support can result in fines, court sanctions, or even the loss of 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 in order 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 like they got remarried, a modification would not be appropriate. This is because child support amounts are based on the parent’s income, not their 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, it is imperative that you contact the court immediately to recalculate and issue a new support order if you believe that your child support needs to be modified.
Speak to a Norman Child Support Lawyer Today
If you have any additional child support questions, contact a Norman family law attorney for advice. 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.