Child support is one of the most disputed issues between parents. There’s the often used phrase that the only two certain things in life are death and taxes. To be certain, the other is child support. If you are a parent in the State of Oklahoma going through either a divorce involving minor children or a paternity, you can be certain that child support is involved.
Child Support, How Much Do I Pay
The arguments we constantly hear in our practice is that either the child support amount is too high or it too low depending on whose paying The answer to these arguments is simple. The state legislature came up with a specific formula, based on the parents’ gross income to figure out the needs of the child and therefore child support.
In fact, Okla. Stat. tit. 43 119 provides a schedule of base child support obligations looking at the number of children and the combined gross income of the parents. It’s important to realize that this is the base support. There are several ways to increased or decreased this amount.
Is All Income Considered For Child Support
The relevant statute requires the court to look at all sources of gross income. This includes earned and passive income from any source, except as excluded in this section. Earned income is defined by statute as “income received from labor or the sale of goods or services”. This includes salary, wages, tips and bonuses. Passive income is defined as all other income which includes pensions, rent received from a rental property, interest income, social security disability benefits, gifts, prizes, gambling winnings and distributions from retirement accounts.
Problems Paying Child Support
We often hear complaints that a party can’t afford their support obligations because their personal expenses are too high. Despite whether the expenses are reasonable, they won’t be taken into consideration. However there are certain things that are excluded from your income, such as: support received for children not before the court, TANF, Supplemental Security Income, and Food Stamps.
Child Support Modifications
The base support can also be increased when the children are not covered by medical insurance. When this is the case, the obligor will have to pay a pre-established amount of money called cash-medical. This is to help with the payments of medical expenses. Additionally, day care expenses can be included in the calculation.
The base amount of can also be decreased in several ways. If the parent paying support receives over 121 overnight visitations per year, they will receive a shared parenting credit. This credit can reduce their obligation dramatically. This unfortunately has some negative effects. Sometimes parents use the number over-nights for no other purpose than to lower their support payment. Additionally, the parent who is ordered to pay support has a right to insure the children. Just like the child care example from above, this is factored into the support computation. Paying the medical insurance will lower the amount of support owed.
Other Factors Considered in Child Support
Finally, it is possible for a support computation to come to $0 a month, but exact circumstances must be met. It is also possible for the parties to agree to a deviation from the support computation and asking that the court set a lower amount of child, but the parties would have to prove why such a deviation is in the best interest of the parties child(ren). Ultimately the Judge has the final say as to whether or not a deviation can be approved.
If you would like a free consultation with a support and custody attorney in Tulsa Oklahoma call us today. Our family law attorneys can review the facts of your family law case and come up with solution’s tailored to your family needs.