Child support is a vital aspect of family law designed to ensure that children receive the financial support they need, even when their parents are no longer together. In Oklahoma, child support calculations are governed by specific statutes, and one of the most crucial sections is Oklahoma Statute 43 O.S. Section 118. This statute outlines how income is calculated for child support purposes in the state of Oklahoma. In this blog post, we will delve into the details of Section 118 and provide insight into how income is determined for child support cases.
Understanding Oklahoma Statute 43 O.S. Section 118
Oklahoma Statute 43 O.S. Section 118 provides a comprehensive framework for calculating a parent’s income for child support purposes. This statute defines “income” broadly, encompassing various sources of financial support and earnings. To better comprehend its application, let’s break down the key components:
1. Gross Monthly Income: Section 118 considers the gross monthly income of each parent. Gross income includes wages, salaries, bonuses, commissions, and other forms of compensation from employment. It also includes income from rental properties, investments, and self-employment.
2. Imputed Income: If a parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, the court may impute income based on the parent’s earning capacity. This means that the court may calculate child support based on what the parent could earn if they were fully employed, taking into account their education, work history, and market conditions.
3. Deductions: The statute allows certain deductions from gross income, including federal and state income taxes, Social Security, and Medicare taxes, as well as mandatory retirement contributions.
4. Child Support Orders from Previous Relationships: If a parent is already paying child support for another child from a different relationship, those payments are deducted from their gross income when calculating child support for the current case.
5. Health Insurance and Child Care Costs: The statute also considers the costs of health insurance and child care necessary for the child’s welfare. These costs are typically divided between the parents in proportion to their incomes.
6. Deviation from Guidelines: In some cases, the court may deviate from the child support guidelines outlined in Section 118 if it deems it necessary for the child’s best interests. Such deviations require a detailed explanation from the court.
Determining Child Support Amount
Once the parents’ incomes are calculated according to Section 118, the court uses these figures to determine the child support obligation. Oklahoma employs guidelines, often referred to as the “Child Support Schedule,” which provide a standard calculation formula based on the combined income of both parents and the number of children involved. This formula ensures that child support is determined fairly and consistently across cases.
Oklahoma Statute 43 O.S. Section 118 plays a pivotal role in the child support process within the state. It provides a clear and comprehensive framework for calculating a parent’s income for child support purposes, ensuring that the financial needs of children are met. Understanding the nuances of this statute is essential for both parents and legal professionals involved in child support cases.
Please note that child support matters can be complex and may involve individual circumstances not covered in this overview. If you require legal advice or assistance with a child support case in Oklahoma, it is advisable to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can provide guidance tailored to your specific situation. The Smith Firm is prepared to assist you with any matters relating to child support in Oklahoma. Contact us today at (405) 843-1000 or schedule your consultation at your convenience.