What is child support, and why is it important?
Oklahoma child support can be confusing or even daunting. Whether you’re paying it or receiving it, it’s important to understand the laws. Child support in Chickasha is for people who have a child they are not raising together. It’s designed to ensure that the child is being financially supported by both parents.
Whether you were never married to the other parent of your child or you got a divorce, one of you will have to pay child support. In cases of children born out of wedlock, the mother automatically has sole custody. However, the father can petition for visitation rights or joint custody. In the case of a divorce, one parent will have primary custody of the child, even if there is joint custody.
Whatever parent doesn’t have primary or sole custody of the child is required to pay child support to the parent who does. Since the parent with primary custody takes care of the child the most, they have the most expenses related to the child. This includes lodging, food, clothing, education, medical, and more. The non-custodial parent pays child support to help offset these costs.
How is child support determined?
While the matter of who pays child support is determined by custody, how much they pay is decided in a different way. First, both parents’ adjusted gross income is combined. Then the Grady County court factors in any other support payments the parents have (including other child support), the cost of insurance and daycare, and the amount of time each parent spends with the child.
With those calculations, they figure out how much money each parent must designate to the support of their child. For an estimate of child support costs, you can use a free online calculator. The parent who has to pay child support must make payments in full and on time. Otherwise, they will be considered delinquent.
What is child support delinquency?
Whenever a parent doesn’t make their child support payment on time, it becomes delinquent. Oklahoma then uses an income assignment to take the payment out of the parent’s wages. Unpaid child support has steep interest rates. Plus, it adds up and eventually becomes part of a judgment.
If it goes beyond delinquency to a flat-out refusal to pay, things can get ugly. The nonpaying parent could owe up to $500 in fines and spend up to six months in jail. They could also lose their driver’s license and have other licenses denied or suspended.
Not paying child support is never a good idea, especially if it’s neglected on purpose. Failure or refusal to pay directly impacts your child. Perhaps you’re behind on child support payments because you can’t afford them. If that’s the case, you can file for a modification.
What is a child support modification?
There are certain circumstances under which you can file for a modification to your current child support. Oklahoma law allows modifications when:
- the existing child support order lacks an order for medical support
- the existing child support order is not in compliance with the Oklahoma Child Support Guidelines
- the calculated amount of child support to be paid will change at least 20%
- there are considerable changes in the circumstances of the parents or the child
When the income of one or both parents increases or decreases, it could merit a modification. So could a marked change in the needs of the child or the cost of caring for them. Medical disabilities and custody changes might also warrant a modification.
If you believe you are not receiving enough child support, or you believe your payments are an undue financial burden, you can request a child support modification. Remember that child support is for the benefit of your child. It’s important to make sure it’s handled correctly, with timely payments and proper use of the money to care for your child.