Last month, August, was Child Support Enforcement Awareness Month. It’s observed nationally in order to express appreciation for those who assist parents in drafting, enforcing, and collecting child support. Its also celebrated as a way to create awareness of the mission of those that work in this area. Child support is a critical aspect of the care of children who suffer through a divorce. Its also critical for those kids whose parents never married and do not live together. Further, the proper drafting of child support orders is necessary to effectuate the proper care and nurturing of those children. The advice of an experienced Tulsa divorce and child support attorney is critical in the crafting of such an order.
In Oklahoma, half of all marriages end in divorce. Moreover, in the past year 41 percent of children were born to unwed parents. Oklahoma’s Child Support Service’s Fiscal Year 2014 ended with a record number of cases — 206,766. The caseload for the Service has increased by 45 percent over the past ten years. During this same time period collections grew by 122%. This means that more children who are the subjects of child support orders are receiving the fund.
Oklahoma Family law bases its child support orders on the parents’ incomes. However, statutory guidleines determine award amounts. Depending on the circumstances though parents can agree to and judges can award a different amount. In general, parents have a legal and moral obligation to provide for their children’s financial well-being. As a matter of public policy, parents may not abdicate their responsibility to pay for their children’s support.
Oklahoma Child Support Guidelines:
Oklahoma adopted child support guidelines in 1987. They are in Okla. Stat., tit. 43, Section 118. That section establishes a presumption that, in any proceeding for child support, the amount which results is the right amount. The court may award a different amount if the amount given by the guidelines is unjust, under the circumstances. The court will also look to the best interest of the child for additional evidence. If the court does deviate from the guidelines it must make specific factual findings in support of its action.
The first step in determining a support order is to establish each parent’s adjusted gross income. Those amounts add together to arrive at a combined gross monthly family income. Gross income includes salaries, wages, commissions, bonuses, dividends, severance pay, pensions, rent, and interest income. The base child support obligation in Oklahoma is based on the gross family income and the number of children. Each parent’s percentage share of the child support order is based on that parent’s proportional share of the gross family income. The parent who is not the primary custodian of the child is generally the obligor under the support order. Actual child care expenses and medical and dental insurance allocate between the parents in the same proportions as their income and add to the base child support amount.
Contact Our Tulsa Divorce and Child Support Lawyers:
The determination of child support is carefully arrived at through thorough assessment. Experienced and capable Tulsa Divorce Child Support Lawyers are your best resource to ensure that any support order is adequate to care for your child’s needs. Call today and get the advantage you deserve.
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