Paying Oklahoma child support is mandatory. If you have children, you must support them. And that can be tough when you are out of work.
When this happens, there are some things that you can do to make the burden easier. The worst thing you can do is to do nothing and ignore a court order to pay child support.
If an Order is In Place, Do Not Ignore It
What you decide to do will depend in part on whether there is a child support order in place already. If your Okmulgee divorce has just started, the court may not have issued that order yet. In that case, your support contribution will likely be computed as if you earn minimum wage.
If you are out of work and already have an Oklahoma child support obligation, your obligation continues. Do not ignore it.
Interest will continue to accrue on any unpaid amount. In addition, the court may find you in contempt. You could even face criminal charges for failure to pay.
It Pays to Be Proactive
If you are in this position, the best thing you can do is let the court know and request a modification. Courts are often willing to work with you if they feel that you are trying to continue to pay support even when your situation is difficult.
An Oklahoma child support modification is possible if your income change is significant and the loss in income is not being used to simply avoid paying support.
Among the reasons that a court will grant a modification are:
There will be a 10% change in the amount of support according to Oklahoma child support guidelines; or
There is a significant change of circumstances for either the child or the parents. This includes a change in income. Keep in mind that unemployment benefits can be garnished to pay child support, so working it out with the court is in your best interests.
What Constitutes a Significant Change in Income?
Okmulgee, Oklahoma uses both parents’ income levels when calculating child support. Thus, a significant change in one parent’s income can lower the Oklahoma child support obligation.
Before you bring a motion to modify, make sure that you or your attorney check the state’s Child Support Guidelines to calculate how much should be paid given your income change. This will ensure that you are not surprised in court.
In your Okmulgee divorce case, the court balanced your child’s best interests against your ability to pay child support. Thus, the best interests of the child remain the court’s primary concern even when a parent suffers a decline in income.
Therefore, if the income drop is not substantial, an Okmulgee family court judge will not grant a modification. Consequently, the original court order will stand.
The Wirth Law Office team has developed an online child support calculator for those who need to determine child support obligations under the latest law. We provide this to the public at an online Oklahoma law wiki.
We are here to help when you need it most.
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