Basic information about child support in Oklahoma.
- How is the amount of child support decided?
- What is the Centralized Child Support Registry and how can it help me?
- What if I have a support order and the other parent is not paying child support?
- If a parent with visitation or custody rights stops paying court ordered child support, does the custodial parent have the right to deny him/her visitation?
How is the amount of child support decided?
When deciding how much child support to award, the court generally considers the following factors for both parents:
- Amount of time the child lives with each parent
- Income from work (including tips, commissions, bonuses, etc.)
- Income from partnerships, business, corporations, practices, etc.
- Rental income (if either parent owns property and rents it out) Interest income from investments
- Social Security benefits
- Worker's compensation benefits
- Unemployment benefits
- Disability benefits
- Prizes or gambling winnings
Things that are NOT considered when deciding how much the child support payments:
- Child support, adoption subsidies, or foster care payments that you receive for other children
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Food Stamps
- General Assistance and State Supplemental Payments for Aged, Blind, and the Disabled
- Any income the child gets (e.g., disability benefits) except that Social Security Title II benefits are counted as income.**
There are other sources of income not mentioned in the list above that can be considered – if you or your child receives a different type of income than listed above, you may want to consult with an attorney to see how that income will be calculated. You can find legal referrals on our OK Finding a Lawyer page. To get a rough idea of how much child support you may receive, go to AllLaw.com's Oklahoma child support calculator.
If you are applying for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the Child Support Enforcement Department (CSED) of the Department of Human Services will automatically seek child support from the non-custodial parent. See their TANF and CSED websites for more details.
* 43 O.S. §118B(A)
** 43 O.S. §118B(B)
What is the Centralized Child Support Registry and how can it help me?
The Centralized Child Support Registry is a system maintained by the Child Support Enforcement Division (CSED) of the Department of Humans Services (DHS) that allows it to receive and distribute child, spousal (alimony), and related support payments. This allows CSED to monitor support payments and make sure they are being made and being made on time.
There are different ways you can have your support payments made through the Registry. First, you can request it in court when you apply for support.* Second, if you have the payments garnished (taken) from the other parent’s income (known as income withholding), these payments will go through the Registry. Also, if you apply for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), they will automatically register your payments or start proceedings against the other parent for child support s/he is not paying.**
If you have a support order and the other parent is behind in support payments, you can file with CSED to start an enforcement investigation to go after the delinquent parent. Once the parent is found, the payments will be made through the registry.
* 43 O.S. § 413(C)
** 43 O.S. § 237(C)
What if I have a support order and the other parent is not paying child support?
If the other parent isn't paying court-ordered support, you can fill out an application with the Child Support Enforcement Division (CSED) of the Department of Human Services (DHS). DHS has a system called Centralized Child Support Registry that is designed to help CSED receive and distribute child support and spousal support (alimony) payments. This registry allows CSED to monitor support payments and make sure they are being made and being made on time. You can reach Child Support Services of the Department of Human Services at 1-800-522-2922. CSED will then attempt to track down that parent and make him or her pay. If CSED is unable to make the delinquent parent pay, it can do things like:
- get a lien on the parent's property (including real estate, motor vehicles, boats, etc.).* A lien basically means that if s/he doesn't come up with the money, s/he may be forced to sell his/her property to pay what s/he owes;
- have the parent's business and recreational licenses revoked (including hunting and fishing licenses) and/or
- have the other parent's driving privileges suspended.**
It is important to remember that if the other parent has court-awarded visitation rights and stops paying court- ordered child support, you cannot deny him/her the right to see the child. See If a parent with visitation or custody rights stops paying court ordered child support, does the custodial parent have the right to deny him/her visitation?
* 43 O.S. § 135
** 43 O.S. § 139.1
If a parent with visitation or custody rights stops paying court ordered child support, does the custodial parent have the right to deny him/her visitation?
No. If a parent who has court-awarded visitation rights stops paying court-ordered child support, you cannot legally deny him/her the right to see their child. If you do, you could be held in contempt of court for violating the court order of custody/visitation. Oklahoma law views visitation and support as being separate. In fact, a pattern of failing to allow court-ordered visitation can be seen as being against the best interests of the child and therefore can be grounds for modification of a child custody order (unless you can prove “good cause” for denying the visits).*
To try to stop visitation, in general, the custodial parent may go to court to try to have visitation modified or suspended, but visitation cannot be denied without an order from the court. When the child's safety and well-being would be threatened by allowing the non-custodial parent to have the court-ordered visitation (such as when the visiting parent is chemically dependent, involved in an abusive relationship, living with or married to someone that may be harmful to the child, etc.), the custodial parent can possibly get a temporary injunction to immediately stop visitation. Then, the next step would be to file with the court to ask that the visitation agreement be permanently modified.
* 43 O.S. § 112(D)(1)