How Much Child Support Do I have To Pay

by Zach Waxman on April 26, 2013

What Counts as Income for Oklahoma Child Support Cases

In a previous child support posting, we discussed how Oklahoma Child Support Law takes into consideration the parties’ gross income, over night visitations with the minor child, health insurance and day care expenses, when Oklahoma child support is calculated.  While we went into more depth regarding day care, visitation, and health insurance, we only briefly went over what constitutes gross income for purposes of Oklahoma Child Support.  In this post we not only talk about gross income, but what is also not considered as income for Oklahoma Child Support purposes, and what happens when your income is from self employment.

What Counts as Gross Income for Oklahoma Child Support Calculations?

Oklahoma Child Support law defines Gross Income as any income derived from earned and passive income from any source.

Earned Income, according to Oklahoma Child Support Law, includes, but is not limited to:

  • salaries,

  • wages,

  • tips

  • commissions,

  • bonuses,

  • severance pay,and

  • military pay, including hostile fire or imminent danger pay, combat pay, family separation pay, or hardship duty location pay

Passive Income, according to Oklahoma Child Support Law, includes, buts is not limited to:

  • dividends,

  • pensions,

  • rent,

  • interest income,

  • trust income,

  • support alimony being received from someone other than the other parent in this case,

  • annuities,

  • social security benefits (Social Security Disability Insurance-SSDI),

  • workers’ compensation benefits,

  • unemployment insurance benefits,

  • disability insurance benefits,

  • gifts,

  • prizes,

  • gambling winnings,

  • lottery winnings, and

  • royalties

What is important to understand is that almost anything, other than the later provided list, is considered income.  For example, we had a client try to argue that since he lost his job and was collecting unemployment benefits, his child support obligation should be modified to reflect this significant decrease in income.  However, this client also had a pretty substantial retirement account, which he was making monthly withdrawals from.  If he had left his retirement account alone, he would have been fine.  However, the Judge determined that his monthly income for purposes of Oklahoma Child Support was what he was making monthly from his unemployment benefits in addition to the monthly average he was withdrawing from his retirement account.   Ultimately he ended up paying less per month, but not as much as he had hoped.

What is Not Considered Income in Oklahoma Child Support Cases?

Oklahoma Child Support law says that following is specifically to be excluded as income for child support purposes:

  • Actual child support received for children not before the court;

  • Adoption Assistance subsidy paid by the Department of Human Services;

  • Benefits received from means-tested public assistance programs including, but not limited to: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Food Stamps, and General Assistance and State Supplemental Payments for Aged, Blind and the Disabled;

  • The income of the child from any source, including, but not limited to, trust income and social security benefits drawn on the disability of the child; and

  • Payments received by the parent for the care of foster children

How Does Self-Employment Income Affect Oklahoma Child Support Computations?

Oklahoma Child Support law defines self employment income as income from, but not limited to, business operations, work as an independent contractor or consultant, sales of goods or services, and rental properties, less ordinary and reasonable expenses necessary to produce such income.

So this means that all business related expenses will be deducted from the reported business income before, with the net being the income imputed for child support.  For example: an individual owns rental properties.  That individual collects $60,000 in rent per month.  However, he had to pay $50,000 a month to cover the mortgages on the rental properties, plus an additionl $5,000 for maintenance that month.  His net income, the income that he would be imputed at would be $5,000.00.

In addition,  determination of business income for tax purposes shall not control for purposes of determining a child support obligation. Amounts allowed by the Internal Revenue Service for accelerated depreciation or investment tax credits shall not be considered reasonable expenses, but the courts shall deduct from self-employment gross income an amount equal to the employer contribution for F.I.C.A. tax which an employer would withhold from an employee’s earnings on an equivalent gross income amount.

So in excusing the example above, the individual’s $5,000.00 a month would be reduced by the 7.65% self-employment tax ($382.50), making that individual’s monthly income $4,617.50).

It is important to understand that if the net self-employment income is $0 per month, the court will likely impute that person’s income at minimum wage or what the judge determines would be a reasonable amount based on that individual’s monthly living requirements.

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