At MM Legal Group, our team is experienced in dealing with a variety of child support situations. We understand that child support disagreements can be emotionally challenging. Our goal is to take the stress off you and help to find positive solutions that work for all parties involved.
Unfortunately, child support cases are not always simple and straightforward. That's why we're here. Our attorneys are familiar with the state child support guidelines as well as the local courtroom practices. We also know that there are significant financial issues involved with child support matters. Part of our job is to help you uncover all of the facts, statements, and information that will provide a complete financial picture.
Filing for Child Support in Oklahoma
In Oklahoma, you can file for child support either through district court or through DHS. The district court is usually the more appropriate option when also dealing with custody or visitation matters. If you have a matter that is solely focused on child support, it would be more beneficial to file through DHS administrative court.
Child Support Through DHS
When a request for child support is filed through DHS, the case will be referred to a district office. The district office will provide a hearing date and will send notice of this hearing date to both parties. A judge, who is an employee of DHS, will be present, as will the state's attorney and the other parent. The state's attorney does not represent you and is not looking out for your best interests, so you'll also want to have an experienced attorney representing you during this hearing. Each side will present evidence related to the child's care, expenses, and other financial matters that will impact child support payments. The judge will compute the amount of child support using state guidelines and file a child support order with the district court. Each party has an opportunity to appeal if they are unhappy with the result.
Child Support Through the District Court
Child support is usually ordered by the district court in cases where child custody or visitation is also at issue, such as in a divorce proceeding. The court will use state guidelines to determine the amount of child support that will be paid.
Generally, the court only deviates from those guidelines under the at least one of the following circumstances:
● The parties are represented by attorneys and have agreed to a different child support arrangement.
● One party has an attorney, and the deviation from guidelines will benefit the unrepresented party.
● The amount of support detailed by the guidelines is inappropriate under the circumstances.
Child support is an equitable issue and, as with most other matters involving children, the child's best interests are the paramount consideration of the court.
Contact an Experienced Oklahoma Child Support Attorney
If you or a loved one is dealing with child support matters, don't do it alone. Let the attorneys at MM Legal Group guide you through the complex process and answer any questions you have along the way. We want to help you and your family get the results that are best for your situation. Set up a time to talk to us today and see how we can support you.
Frequently Asked Questions About Child Support in Oklahoma
Child support matters can be complex and emotional. We know you have a lot of questions. Below are some frequently asked questions to help you better understand how child support works in Oklahoma.
How is child support calculated?
Generally, the amount of child support to be paid depends on each parent's respective income and parenting time with the child. The courts look at the parent's combined income and assign each parent to contribute to the child's care in an amount that is reflective of the percentage of the combined income that the parent brings in. The court will also consider factors such as:
● The number of children
● Costs for school, daycare, extra-curricular activities, and health expenses
● Additional income received by a parent
It is important to remember that the court can us its discretion to set a different amount in certain circumstances. It's beneficial to have an attorney on your side to advocate for you and your child's best interests.
When does child support end?
The general rule is that child support ends when your child turns 18 or graduates High School - whichever is later. However, if your child has a mental or physical disability and cannot support themselves as an adult, child support may continue past the age of 18.
If there are multiple children involved, the fact that one child turns 18 does not always automatically stop or reduce child support payments. To have the child support modified to reflect that one child is now 18, the parent requesting the change should file a motion ASAP.
How do I collect child support?
As soon as the child support order is entered or filed in district court, it becomes enforceable. There is nearly always a designated "start date" on the Order. Once you have an enforceable Order, you can issue an income assignment. The income assignment requires the paying parent's employer to withhold the amount of the child support from the paying parent's paychecks. The employer then sends the child support funds to DHS, who then sends the funds to the receiving parent.
What happens if child support is not paid?
Since the child support order is an enforceable court order, it is considered a violation of a court order (or contempt) to fail to make timely or complete child support payments. Failure to pay child support can lead to:
● Criminal prosecution under Oklahoma state law and under federal law, which can result in fines or imprisonment
● Payment of the arrearage (also known as the past due amount)
● Contempt of court, which can result in fines or imprisonment
● Garnishment of your bank accounts
● Liens on your property
● Revocation of a recreational license or permit (not your driver's license or professional license)
● Interception of tax refunds
However, as with most rules, there is an exception here. If you are the paying parent and are unable to make full payments as ordered, call us today to discuss your options.