It is the law. If you have children in Oklahoma you are legally required to financially support them whether you are married or divorced. When a couple decides to divorce, issues of custody and child support must be decided by the parties and approved by the court. Oklahoma child support payments are calculated based on parental income and each parents contribution to child-rearing efforts, including overnight care. Okla. Stat. tit. 43 § 118
Oklahoma uses statutory guidelines to determine the amount that parents spend on their children at various income levels. In this way, the law provides a presumption of support at various income levels.
While there are various online child support calculators available, it is important to understand the underpinnings of these calculators.
How Child Support Guidelines Work
First, both parents’ adjusted gross income is added together. Gross income is usually determined by the average amount of income paid to a parent over the last three years, or the actual amount earned weekly, or the minimum hourly wage for a 40-hour work week, or an amount imputed by the court for a person with this level of education, training, and experience.
For self-employed parents, the formula differs. Usually, for self-employed parents, their adjusted gross income is their income minus the necessary and ordinary expenses required for their business.
Once these figures are added together, the court looks to see how many other children are being supported, and how much time the child is spending with each parent, the number of other support payments a parent might have including alimony or other child support, the costs of medical and dental insurance and daycare costs, to arrive at a figure that both parents are required to contribute to the support of their child.
Adjustments to Calculated Support
In arriving at this figure, the court looks at the amount of time a child spends with their respective parents, usually based on the number of overnights the child spends. The basic calculated child support figure may be adjusted if a non-custodial parent is granted at least 121 overnights of parenting time during a 12 month period or where a parent may spend differing amounts of time with each of multiple children of the marriage. In that case, the parenting time adjustment is calculated by looking at an annual average of parenting time with all of the children. In the case of split physical custody, either parent may be eligible for a parenting time adjustment.
Other deviations from the calculated support amount may be made if it is in the child’s best interests, but no deviation may be made that would seriously impair the ability of the custodial parent to maintain minimally adequate housing, food, and clothing for the children.
Typical deviations from guidelines occur when there are extraordinary medical needs not covered by insurance for example, or in the face of extreme financial hardship on the part of one of the parents.
In all of these cases, it is helpful to understand how the law applies to your unique case. No two cases are the same and an Tulsa divorce lawyer can help you understand how the law applies to your case and can help you resolve any outstanding child support issues or questions you may have.
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