Calculating child support payments in Muskogee, Oklahoma is a complex task. Oklahoma uses guidelines as a standard to calculate support payments. The use of guidelines includes some presumptions that help children but which make the issue more complicated.
Explaining Oklahoma Child Support Laws
Oklahoma child support laws use a guideline model. This is based on the assumption that the child of divorced parents should have basically the level of support as the child would have if the parents were still married to each other.
Under this model, the parents’ income is pooled together and then a number of allowable expenses are subtracted. Then, the court determines how much time a child is spending with each parent to adjust the amount of support.
How The Guidelines Work
The guidelines presume levels of support at various income levels. Both parents add their adjusted gross income together. Gross income can be the average of their income for the prior three years; a parent’s actual weekly earnings; the minimum hourly wage for a 40-hour workweek; or an amount imputed by the court for a person with this level of education, training, and experience. Okla. Stat. tit. 43 § 118
When a parent is self-employed, their business expenses are subtracted from their gross income before being used in the child support computation.
Expenses such as medical and dental insurance, daycare costs, and other support payment obligations are factored in. The calculation also takes into account the number of nights a child spends with each parent.
All Oklahoma courts use this calculator. The Oklahoma Child Support Calculator is available online and provided by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.
Adjustments To Calculated Child Support
The basic calculated child support figure may be adjusted based on time with the child. It is adjusted if a non-custodial parent is granted at least 121 overnights of parenting time during a year.
Also, it can be adjusted if there are multiple children and a parent spends differing amounts of time with each the children. In that case, the parenting time adjustment is calculated by looking at an annual average of parenting time with all of the children. When parents have joint custody, either parent may be eligible for a parenting time adjustment.
Other Types Of Adjustments
Other deviations from the calculated support amount may be made if it is in the child’s best interests. No deviation may be made if it would seriously impair the ability of the custodial parent to maintain minimally adequate housing, food, and clothing for the children.
What Happens When Parents Make A Lot Of Money?
Oklahoma’s child support calculator tops out at $15,000 in income per month. When parents make more income than that, courts will use $15,000 as the income and then add additional amounts to it.
The court looks at the child’s needs, the parents’ ability to pay, and the standard of living the child was accustomed to. Also, the court will consider the cost of private education, travel, and the like.
Tribal Law And Jurisdiction
In 2020, the Supreme Court decided McGirt v. Oklahoma; this 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. The tribal court may accept or decline the matter. If it declines the matter, the case will be sent to state 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.
Our office is admitted to practice in some tribal courts and can seek further admittance if a particular matter requires access to tribal courts. Speak to our Muskogee attorney for more information.
Free Consultation: Muskogee Child Custody Attorney
When you decide to get a divorce and have children, you may feel nervous about your child custody options. However, an experienced Muskogee child support attorney can help bring relief.
A no-cost initial consultation can help you decide whether Wirth Law Office – Muskogee can provide the best Muskogee child custody attorney for your family law matter. Call us today at 918-884-7774.