Children need a happy and healthy environment to grow and develop. They depend on their parents and family to ensure their upbringing. Parents have a legal and moral duty to protect, maintain, and educate their children. When a child lives with a single parent or the parents go through a divorce or dissolution of marriage, the health and welfare of the child is also affected. In Oklahoma, the court may order either or both parents to make regular payments, called child support, for a child’s living and medical expenses. It is the legal right of the children to get financial aid from parents.
Oklahoma child support laws ensure that financial rights of the children are protected.
The state laws also ensure that the parents, and not the public, provides for the children.
Need for Child Support
Child support laws are based on the concept that the children are entitled to the protection and support of both parents. However, the law also recognizes that there are many costs associated with the upbringing and care of a child. In addition to basic food, clothing, and medical expenses, there is also the cost of school fees, school supplies, transportation, etc. A custodial parent may have to secure a larger accommodation than what is otherwise needed. The custodial parent is often responsible for all these costs. Child support is designed to even out the burden and offset the expenses of one parent. In Oklahoma, the court determines the amount of child support based upon the statutory guidelines of the law. However, in some special circumstances, the parents or a judge can set a different amount than what is calculated.
Neglecting Child Support
Typically, child support is paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent of the child. If a court orders you to pay the child support amount, you must pay it. So, what happens if you can’t pay child support? Neglecting or avoiding child support payments is a punishable criminal offense. If you don’t pay child support regularly, the court can use enforcement measures. These measures include withholding income from your paycheck, intercepting federal and state tax returns, suspending licenses and permits, and denying passport.
You may also be held in contempt of court or sentenced some jail time. However, on rare occasions or special circumstances, the child support amount can be reduced or modified. This happens only in the event that your financial circumstances change and you are truly unable to keep paying as much child support. You might need to prove the change in your financial situation to receive this reduction.
Collecting Child Support
In Oklahoma, the amount paid in child support is determined by the income of the parents. The statutory guidelines determine the amount of support that parents at particular income levels need to pay for their children. The Oklahoma Child Support Guideline Schedule determines the parent’s base child support according to the combined income of both parents and the number of children in the family. The percentage of each parent’s income in combined income determines the percentage of base child support. The State of Oklahoma maintains child support offices in each county that help parents in collecting child support. Child support services are provided through the Department of Human Services (DHS) or the District Attorney offices. In case of neglect or avoidance of child support, child support services can help you collect payments, settle disputes, or locate missing parents. If you’re facing a potential child support issue or dispute, whether due to divorce or as a single parent, a family law attorney can help you get the best possible outcome for you and your children.