It happens more often than you think. Parents fall behind on their Oklahoma child support payments. It can happen for a number of reasons — but when it does, the other parent and the child always bear the brunt of that arrearage. Often, the custodial parent must seek financial help from social services. A parent who is owed delinquent child support in Oklahoma often feels overwhelmed by working and parenting while dealing with financial instability.
However, there are things that you can do if you are in this situation. First, know that you are not alone. Second, get the legal help you need to collect what is owed.
Enforcement Of Delinquent Child Support In Oklahoma
There are a number of tools available to a parent seeking to collect delinquent child support in Oklahoma. If the custodial parent has obtained any sort of public assistance benefits as a result of the financial deficit, the delinquency can be handled by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services or the local District Attorney’s office. When no public assistance has been involved, a parent who is owed money can seek the help of a private Muskogee attorney in collecting what is owed.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both avenues of collection. While going through the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) costs little to nothing, DHS is often so backlogged with cases that it could be a long time before the custodial parent sees any money from collection.
In Oklahoma, child support payments are most often handled by wage garnishment. The amount owed is subtracted from the non-custodial parent’s paycheck. This is called “income assignment” in Oklahoma.
Delinquent child support payments are often handled by garnishing the paying parent’s wages. In Oklahoma, all child support orders include an order to automatically withhold support from the paying parent’s wages.
A custodial parent can get an order from the court to withhold more in wages up to a point until the arrearage is paid off. That is called a judgment for child support. Once that is obtained, there are a number of ways to enforce the order.
If wage garnishment is used, the garnishment limit is 50% of disposable income if the paying parent is supporting a spouse or another child who is not subject to the order. Otherwise, the limit is 60%.
Enforcement Across State Lines
Sometimes, a parent will move out of state to try to avoid paying child support. However, child support orders are enforceable across state lines. A child support order will follow that parent.
There are a number of tools that are available in state or out of state to enforce child support. Federal and state tax refunds may be intercepted, a wage garnishment order can be given to the delinquent parent’s place of employment, or a lien can be placed against their property.
In addition, professional and state licenses may be denied, driver’s licenses may be suspended, and federal passports can be denied.
Finally, should a delinquent parent try to escape paying back child support, that parent can be held in contempt of court and jailed. This is often unpleasant enough to force a parent to pay the back child support owed.
There are things you can do to collect back child support. Seek the help of a Muskogee attorney who can help you determine the best avenue for you to take given all the circumstances.
Tribal Law And Delinquent Child Support In Oklahoma
In 2020, the Supreme Court decided McGirt v. Oklahoma, which restored recognized reservation boundaries of five tribes to include most of Eastern Oklahoma. State and tribal courts are still sorting out how McGirt affects family law matters. Tribe members may bring their family law matters to their tribal court.
Tribal courts have jurisdiction to hear child support and custody matters for a child of any federally recognized tribe. (25 U.S.C. ch. 21 § 1911(A, B) Indian Child Welfare Act)
Generally, tribes that have robust tribal court systems may be most willing to accept jurisdiction in family matters involving their members residing within the boundaries of their jurisdiction.
The tribal court may accept or decline the matter. If it declines the matter, the case will be sent to state court.
Our office is admitted to practice in some tribal courts and can seek further admittance if a particular matter requires access to tribal courts.
Consult With An Experienced Muskogee Child Support Attorney Today
Divorce is difficult. It is a period of high stress. Having an experienced Muskogee child support attorney by your side can help you navigate this difficult terrain and move on with your life.
I have the skill, knowledge, and compassion to help ensure that your rights are well protected throughout the divorce process, so please allow me to help guide your case toward its best possible resolution. Call 918-884-7774 today. I am here to help.