When parents live separately due to separation, divorce, or other circumstances, they each still have a legal obligation to financially support their children. Child support is how the Tulsa family court ensures that both parents provide financial support, particularly if one parent has a lower portion of custody or is unable or unfit to raise their child. If you are navigating a divorce, paternity, or separation case, a child support attorney can help represent you and your interests.

Either parent could be assigned child support payments, depending on the income and resources of each parent, the percentage of parenting time each parent has with their children, and the unique financial needs of their child.

When parents negotiate a separation agreement outside of court, they may be able to determine child support themselves. However, the court must determine this amount to go along with state guidelines, be in the child’s interests, and deviate from the state formula where it is beneficial to the child. If parents cannot reach an agreement or cannot create an agreement that the court approves of, the court will assign child support.

How Is Child Support Calculated in Tulsa?

There are several factors which influence child support calculations. This includes:

  • Each parent’s income and earning capacity
  • The other financial resources of each parent
  • The number of children who require support
  • Whether either parent has financial obligations to other children
  • The amount of custody or parenting time each parent has with children
  • Health insurance and daycare costs

In order to calculate standard child support, the steps include:

  1. Determine the adjusted gross income (AGI) of each parent.
  2. Combine this amount to get the family’s AGI.
  3. Determine the base child support amount for the combined AGI according to the Oklahoma Child Support Guideline Schedule, which accounts for the basic costs of raising and caring for a child.
  4. Split the percentage of this base child support according to each parent’s percentage contribution to the AGI.

The parent with majority custody over the children will receive payments from the noncustodial parent. When parents have equal or near-equal parenting time, it is typical that the higher-earning parent will pay support to the lower-earning parent.

Deviations From the Formula

Under the base child support amount, basic needs such as shelter, food, clothing, educational needs, and transportation are considered. However, there are many cases where children have unique financial requirements. If the court determines that a deviation from the formula is in the child’s interests and that the base formula is unfair, it will not follow the formula. The court may deviate from the formula if there is:

  • Extreme medical or financial needs of a child
  • Extraordinary childcare costs based on the standard of living of the family
  • One or both parents have an income higher than $15,000 a month

The court will look at any other relevant factors to determine if it is reasonable to deviate from the standard formula.

How Long Do Support Payments Last?

Children have the right to receive financial support until they are 18 in Oklahoma. However, if they are still in high school when they turn 18, child support continues until they turn 19 or graduate, whichever comes first.

If support payments are being made and the child is physically or mentally disabled and dependent on their parents, payments can be extended past the age of 19. Support only ends if the parent has no owed back payments. If parents have multiple children receiving support, the support order will need to be modified if one child does not require support but other children do.


Q: How Is Child Support Determined in Oklahoma?

A: Oklahoma child support follows a formula, which is influenced by many factors such as:

  • Each parent’s income and financial resources
  • The total adjusted gross income of both parents
  • The basic financial requirements of raising and caring for a child
  • The number of children in a household
  • The number of children parents have together who need support
  • Any financial obligations either parent has to other children
  • Which parent is the primary guardian or has a greater share of parenting time
  • The cost of health insurance
  • Expenses for childcare and daycare needs

In some cases, the additional needs of a child outside the typical costs mean the state deviates from the formula.

Q: Do You Have to Pay Child Support if You Have 50-50 Custody in Oklahoma?

A: This depends on your unique situation. In some cases, yes, you may be required to pay child support despite having equal custody. 50-50 custody does not always mean the time is perfectly equal, as that is often impractical.

Additionally, even if you and your co-parent do have equal parenting time, income is also an important factor. If one of you has a higher income than the other, that parent would be obligated to pay child support. Both parents should be providing their child support, and this should be a proportionate amount of each parent’s income.

Q: Does Signing Over Parental Rights Stop Child Support in Oklahoma?

A: In most situations, no, giving up your parental rights does not stop child support requirements in Oklahoma. Instead, you would lose the right to custody, visitation, and any other important rights in your child’s life and still be legally responsible for financial support. Child support obligations are only terminated if a child was placed for adoption, there was a final decree of adoption, and it was determined that the birth parent’s parental rights and obligation to support are terminated.

Q: How Do I Lower My Child Support in Oklahoma?

A: You can modify child support orders in Oklahoma if there is a material change in circumstance. A material change in circumstance for child support may include:

  • A change in the income, financial resources, or employment of either parent
  • A change in the needs of a child and their financial care

If there are important financial and material circumstances that were not accounted for in the initial child support determination, you may instead want to petition for an appeal of the decision.

Contact Stange Law Firm

Our compassionate team at Stange Law Firm has worked for years in child support and family law. We understand how stressful it is to raise a child without enough financial support. If you need to modify a support order or create one, contact our team to see how we can help.