Child Support Guidelines Do Stop at a Point
Video Transcribed: Why is child support not capped in Oklahoma? I’m Tulsa family law attorney James Wirth, and I’m answering frequently asked questions regarding family law. And that’s the question that came in is why is child support not capped?
So I guess the argument is that a child only needs so much support. So if the party has an income that goes up to a certain level, the child support gets up to a certain level, that should be enough. And if the parent makes more than that, that doesn’t mean child support should increase. I suppose that’s the argument. So the question is, why doesn’t child support cap at that point?
So, first off, I’d like to mention that the child support guidelines do stop at a point. Where the parties joint income, meaning mom’s income plus dad’s income monthly is more than 15,000, the child support guidelines, they run out.
They only go up to 15,000. They aren’t applicable beyond that. But the child support still is expected to be paid at that level and then some after that. So it doesn’t cap, it’s just the guidelines are no longer applicable at that point.
So what’s the argument on why it doesn’t cap? Meaning that when the obligor’s pay keeps going up and up and up, child support keeps going up and up with it. And I’d say that there’s a public policy reason for that.
I think that ultimately we don’t want a situation where one party is living at a luxurious level substantially above that of the other party and the child. So we want to essentially allow the child to kind of live accustomed to a certain lifestyle at both mom’s house and dad’s house.
In practice, there’s always going to be some disparities if there is a disparity in income, but if they were capped, that could be a much greater disparity that could cause problems between the parties to where the child wonders why he lives at a certain level in one house and another level in the other house. And the court doesn’t believe that custody should be decided based on who has the most money, but a child may feel more comfortable based on a certain level of comfort in one house.
So the guidelines go up with the parties’ incomes. No matter how high the party’s incomes go, child support can always go up. So if you are an NFL player, which we’ve represented, been on both sides of representing some NFL players in child support matters, those guidelines cap out.
They go out, but the child sports still keeps going. Doesn’t cap. And I think that’s probably the public policy reason behind that. But if you’ve got questions about your specific circumstances, you’re going to want to talk directly to an attorney. For that, you can go to makelaweasy.com to discuss your child support in Tulsa, Oklahoma.