Seeking Back Child Support
When a married couple with children separates or divorces, or where only one of an unmarried couple has custody, the non-custodial parent may be responsible for paying child support.
Child support in Oklahoma is calculated through the Department of Human Services using child support guidelines – a calculation factoring in the parents' total income, the number of children they have together, and the number of overnights the children spend with each parent. This calculation provides the amount of money the family should provide for their children and determines what percentage each parent contributes to the monthly support amount. Under Oklahoma law, the court may deviate from the guidelines. However, such deviations are not the standard, and the court must state or approve the reasons for doing so. It is the legislative intent in Oklahoma that a parent's first and principal obligation is to support his or her minor children.
In the past, parents were left on their own to work through child support issues. However, state child support enforcement agencies are now taking a significant and aggressive position with regard to seeking payments from non-custodial parents. Even where the non-custodial parent has a reduced income, whether due to a job loss or salary reduction, they must still continue to pay child support. They may seek to have the child support obligation reduced, but they cannot decide on their own to simply reduce the amount they pay in child support.
Remedies that may be used to collect child support include:
Earnings Assignment Order: A court order directing an obligor's employer to withhold and pay a percentage of obligor's earnings to the obligee under a support order. Earnings assignment orders are automatic for support orders issued or modified on or after July 1, 1990, unless the assignment order is stayed or quashed.
Earnings Withholding Order for Support (Garnishment): An order issued on writ of execution, directing an obligor's employer to withhold and pay a percentage of obligor's earnings to the levying officer to satisfy a judgment for support.
Government Benefits Intercept: Permits a support obligee in cases in which the support obligation is not being enforced by a local child support agency to intercept certain payments by state agencies and other public agencies to the obligor to enforce a support obligation owing to the obligee, including tax returns.
Monetary Penalty on Delinquent Support Payments: Allows support obligee to file and serve a notice of delinquency on the obligor whenever payments under a support order are more than 30 days in arrears. Any payments that remain unpaid for more than 30 days after such a notice has been filed incur a penalty of 6 percent per month, up to a maximum of 72 percent of the unpaid balance.
Loss of Driver License: In cases where the local child support agency is enforcing the support obligation, your driver license can be suspended, revoked, not issued, or not renewed if you are delinquent in child support payments.