FACTORS IN SETTING CHILD SUPPORT
When parents live apart, the Courts rely on the Oklahoma Child Support Guidelines to set parental child support obligations. These statutory guidelines determine the amount of support that parents, at particular family income levels, presumably spend on raising their children. In some cases, parents can agree on child support without following the guidelines so long as it is in the child’s best interests and other statutory factors are met. It is important to remember, however, that all agreements should be in writing and approved by the Court or the agreement may not be enforceable.
Factors taken into consideration under the Oklahoma Child Support Guidelines are:
- Income of both parties;
- Number of children;
- Number of overnights with the child(ren);
- Medical costs;
- Educational costs; and
- Childcare expenses.
MODIFYING CHILD SUPPORT
The Court may modify a child support order if it recognizes a €œmaterial change in circumstances€ for either party or the child. Courts have held that a material change of circumstances can include a change in either parent’s income or a change in the needs of the child.
ENFORCING CHILD SUPPORT
If you do not pay child support, you may face serious trouble. The parent receiving child support can cite you for contempt of Court, and if you are found guilty, the Court can fine you five hundred dollars ($500), sentence you to six (6) months in jail, take away your driver’s license or any other professional or recreational license you may have and award the other parent any fees he/she incurred in citing you for contempt. If child support is an issue for you, we can help you get the support that you are owed, we can defend you against false charges of non-payment, or we can help you negotiate a settlement of past-due child support.
You should always check with your tax preparer regarding these issues or any other tax issues you may have. Generally, child support is neither taxable nor deductible, but there may be tax benefits to having primary physical custody of your child(ren). As a general rule, the parent who provides more than fifty percent (50%) of the support for his/her child(ren), and with whom the child(ren) live more than fifty percent (50%) of the time, receives the dependency tax exemption. The parent who can rightfully claim the dependency tax exemption may give it to the other parent in any tax year. In certain circumstances, the Court will order the parties to share the dependency exemption. Knowing what and how to argue this issue before the Court is your potential key to success. Contact us today and let us help you.