“How is child support calculated?” It’s a question posed by clients in every case involving children. The calculation of child support can get complicated but we want to provide you with a base of understanding of what goes into the formula that determines child support in Oklahoma.
The State of Oklahoma has created a formula to calculate child support. You can find the Oklahoma Department of Human Services child support calculator here: http://www.okdhs.org/services/ocss/pages/computation.aspx.
If by chance the parties combined gross income is in excess of $15,000.00, there are additional calculations that must be made beyond the spreadsheet. There are a variety of factors that are taken into account. We will address above the guideline child support calculations in a separate post.
In Oklahoma, child support is governed by 43 O.S. §118 through §120. Within those statutes we are able to define the core elements to a child support calculation:
- The obligor (who is paying child support- the person who has less visitation);
- The oblige (who is receiving child support);
- Each parties’ gross monthly income;
- Are there any statutory adjustments applicable to either parties’ income;
- The monthly health insurance premiums paid by either party for the minor children or cash medical if the child(ren) are on SoonerCare;
- Are there any continuing monthly health care costs outside of the monthly premium;
- The work and/or educational related child care expenses of either party;
- The number of overnights the child(ren) spend with each party (known as shared parenting credit);
From the above eight core elements, gross income and number of overnight visits pose the common sticking points in many cases. They typically represent the two elements that allow for subjective debate and litigation within many cases.
Gross monthly income, as defined by 43 O.S. §118B(A)(1) includes earned and passive income from any source, except as excluded by statute. In short, your gross monthly income will include, but is not limited to, salaries, wages, tips, bonuses, commissions, interest income, pensions, rent, trust income, gifts, royalties, and fringe benefits. Often individuals will want to make a case that bonuses are not guaranteed or can change therefore they do not want to include them, however in accordance with the law they will be included as income.
There is very little control that either party has over the outcome of the child support number once the factors of income and number of overnights are determined. After income is determined as stated above, and visitation is determined through agreement or trial, the child support computation is simply a product of the elements required and the law of the state, and is not subject to argument by counsel.
A good attorney will insure your gross income is correct, your overnights are calculated accurately, and out-of-pocket expenses are valid if they are included in the computation. The family law attorneys at Smith Simmons are prepared to assist you in insuring your child support computation is what it should be. We provide child support reviews for clients wishing to verify they are receiving or paying the correct amount. Contact us today to begin the process.