Tulsa Attorney BlogSB 421: New Way to Impute Income for Child Support Purposes in Oklahoma

The Parents Income Determines the Child Support Amount

Video Transcribed: There’s a new way to impute income for child support purposes in Oklahoma. My name is James Wirth, I am an Attorney in Tulsa, Ok. We’re talking about some recent changes to the Oklahoma Child Support Guidelines that just went into effect November 1st, 2021, and they deal with imputed income.

That is if it’s a circumstance for one of the parents where it is not easy to determine what their income is or they’re not working, then you can use imputed income. And when you’re determining child support in Oklahoma, it goes by the Oklahoma guidelines. The most important factor in determining child support under the guidelines is going to be the party’s income.

attorney in OklahomaYou look at each parent’s income. You plug those numbers in, along with a couple of other numbers. It spits out the amount that needs to be paid in child support.

However, if based on the circumstances, it’s not equitable to go with their actual earnings, maybe because they’re intentionally underemployed or maybe because they’re in between jobs or maybe because they’re temporarily working at something that’s not their normal type of work or they’re not working at all, in those circumstances, income is imputed. What has changed is that there are a couple of new ways under the statute or slightly different ways under the statute to determine an imputed income.

So, first off, the most popular one that we see is if the parties are not working and the presumption is, under those circumstances, historically, what it’s been, is that you would generally impute that person to at least the minimum wage for a 40-hour workweek.

If there’s good evidence to suggest they’re intentionally unemployed or underemployed, where they could be making more then you could argue for more, usually, it’s at least a 40-hour workweek for minimum wage.

However, what has changed under the law now, based on this news, this new version is that it says wages that parents could earn consistently with the minimum wage rate of not less than 25 hours per week.

So, normally it’d be 40 hours a week. That’s full-time. However, the law now defines full-time as anywhere between 25 and 40 hours per week. So, potentially that could mean that imputed income for somebody who’s not working could be lowered quite a bit, 15 fewer hours at the minimum wage.

The other provision that puts in there for imputing income is that says you could go with the average wages and hours worked in the parents’ particular industry and geographic area and the parents, based on the parents’ education training and work experience and ability to work. So, this is fairly common sense school. This is what we would normally look at for somebody who is intentionally unemployed, is what are they able to work in the workplace?

The only thing is that now it’s in the statute that you can look at these things, and normally we look more at this particular person’s circumstances, and this suggests we take their circumstances, plug it into what the industry averages are for the geographic area to get the amounts. So, that is more a change in the statute, that probably won’t be a big change in practice, because that was normally commonly done, although it’s a little more specific on how it’s done there.

The bigger change is that now we’re looking at a potentially as low as a 25-hour workweek when we’re imputing to minimum wage. So, if that affects your circumstances, you’re probably going to want to talk to a Tulsa child support attorney, more specifically about that to get legal advice privately. If you want to talk to somebody at my office, you can go online to makelaweasy.com

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