Child support changes sometimes. People want to give their children every advantage they can. They want their children to succeed in life. But these days — especially with a volatile economy — sometimes not all the changes that we experience are good ones, and Oklahoma families may need to seek out a child support modification.
Sometimes, life throws us a curveball, like losing a job, or getting one that pays us less. Losing income is never fun, but when it happens and you are required to pay child support, there may be something you can do to cope with the income loss and still support your child.
A child support modification is possible when the income change is substantial and when the loss in income is not being used to simply avoid paying child support. Here is what you need to know about child support modification in Muskogee.
Criteria for Modification Include Substantial Change in Income
There are four reasons that a court may order a modification:
- The original order does not contain an order for medical support;
- The original order was not calculated according to Child Support Guidelines;
- There will be a 10 percent change in the amount of support according to child support guidelines; or,
- There is a significant change of circumstances for either the child or the parents. This includes a change in income.
What Constitutes A Substantial Change in Income
It is important to understand that either parent may seek a modification of child support payments.
Because Oklahoma uses both parents’ income levels as part of the calculation to determine child support levels, a substantial change in income will result in a different support level for that parent. If income goes up substantially, that child support modification could result in an increase in support. Likewise, when income drops substantially, a child support modification may result in a lowered support obligation.
Before you bring a motion to modify, make sure you or your attorney check the state Child Support Guidelines to calculate how much should be paid given your income change. This will ensure that you are not surprised at court.
Bear in mind that the court’s original child support order was made balancing a parent’s ability to pay support against the best interests of the child. The best interests of the child remains the court’s primary concern even in the face of a parent’s decline in income. Thus, if the court finds that the decline in income is not substantial, it may not grant the order to modify.
Sometimes, what you think of as substantial and what the court thinks of as substantial will vary. A loss of $200 of income per month may not be substantial enough to warrant a reduction in support. A loss of $1,000 a month, however, could be.
Much of the support guidelines can be determined with the use of an online child support calculator. The Wirth team has developed an online child-support calculator for those who need to determine child support obligations under the latest law, which we provide to the public at an online Oklahoma law wiki.
Bring your questions and concerns to us. We are happy to help.
Confidential Consultation: Muskogee Divorce Attorney
If you’re considering all of your options at the moment and need to know how best to handle the issues you will face, call an experienced Muskogee divorce attorney today at (918) 913-0725, or toll-free at 1 (888) 447-7262 (Wirth Law).
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