When parents do not live together, child support can be a contentious issue. Both parents are obliged to provide for their children financially, but fathers often feel they bear too much of the financial burden and do not get enough time with the children.
An Oklahoma City child support lawyer could explain how the state calculates child support. An experienced family attorney could ensure everyone knows their rights and duties and the children benefit from the support payments.
Every child has a right to their parents’ support for food, shelter, clothing, healthcare, and other necessities of life. Although children often live with their mother and their father pays support, this arrangement is not inevitable. Modern custody orders often provide fathers substantial time with their children, and the mother could be the parent paying support.
Like most states, Oklahoma uses a formula to calculate child support. The formula considers:
This formula provides the minimum payment in most circumstances.
When the parents’ income is more than $15,000 monthly, the formula’s maximum payment is a starting point. If a judge must decide child support, they try to ensure the children’s standard of living does not significantly decline due to their parents’ separation. A well-practiced attorney in Oklahoma City could advise whether a judge will likely order additional child support in a specific case.
The formula that determines child support presumes the money goes toward food, shelter, utilities, clothing, education, transportation, healthcare, and entertainment. If a parent feels the child’s other parent is diverting child support to other purposes, it is important to get proof that the child is going without a necessity. For example, if utilities are shut off for non-payment at the child’s residence, that could be evidence that the parent is not using the support for the child’s benefit.
Similarly, parents sometimes use access to the child as leverage in child support disputes. For example, a mother might refuse to produce a child for a visit if the child support is late. Child support and visitation are separate rights, and courts frown on parents who try to make one contingent upon the other.
Parents in a child support dispute should consult a seasoned legal professional rather than take matters into their own hands. A proactive Oklahoma City child support attorney could pursue remedies to ensure the child’s safety and comfort, including seeking a modification of custody or child support or court enforcement of current orders.
If a parent cannot pay child support as ordered, or if changed circumstances require a different amount, a parent could seek a modification. The law requires the parent seeking a modification to prove that they have experienced a significant change in circumstances. The parent could do this by showing that under their current circumstances, the formula would produce an amount that varies by more than 20 percent from the current payment.
When a parent fails to pay their support in full for any reason, the receiving parent could ask the court to enforce the child support order. Oklahoma Statute §43-139 gives the courts substantial power to enforce child support. A judge could order various remedies, including:
A parent who has not paid their child support and faces an enforcement action should seek counsel from a skilled Oklahoma City lawyer as quickly as possible.
Discussions about child support often generate deep emotional responses, and it can be challenging to have productive interactions with your children’s other parent. Working with a capable attorney can help you get past these triggers.
An Oklahoma child support lawyer from The Smith Firm will work to ensure your children are safe, comfortable, and well-provided for. Reach out today to discuss your situation with a compassionate legal professional.