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Oklahoma child support, custody, visitation, and wage garnishment rules

Use this Oklahoma child support law to learn about your child support rights and responsibilites.

How is Oklahoma child support determined?

In Oklahoma, both parents are expected to contribute to the support of their children. The parent awarded custody of the child must provide for the education and support of the child to the best of their abilities. The courts may order a portion of the non-custodial parent’s property to be set aside for the custodial parent to use for the child. The courts will consider:

  • the income and the means of each parent
  • the property and assets of each parent

There are official Oklahoma Child Support guidelines, designed to be in the best interests of the child, that the courts use to help determine the correct amount of child support. These guidelines will be followed, unless the parents have agreed to a child support amount on their own, or the court finds these guidelines unjust for a particular case. Child support computation forms are available from the clerk of the court.

The guidelines are based on the combined gross income of both parties. If a party is self-employed, his or her gross income is calculated as ordinary receipts minus ordinary and necessary expenses required for business operations.

At what age does child support payments end?

When the child reaches the age of 18 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs last. If the child marries, child support is no
longer required.

Oklahoma's custody guidelines:

The court will base its custody decree on its evaluation of the best interests of the physical, mental and moral welfare of the child. The court has the discretion to grant either joint or sole custody.

One or both parents may submit a written request and plan for joint custody, detailing facts such as the physical living arrangements for the child, child support obligation, medical and dental care for the child, school placement and visitation rights. An affidavit signed by the parents promising to abide by such a plan will also be submitted to the court.

The court may alter the plan submitted by the parents or entirely deny joint custody if it finds that joint custody is not in the best interest of the child. The parents may modify the plan for joint custody at any time, but a copy of the modification must be filed with the court. The court will evaluate all modifications based on the best interest of the child and will approve or disapprove the modifications. The court may also terminate the plan for joint custody if it determines that it is not in the best interest of the child upon the request of either party.

When awarding custody to either party, the court will consider, among other factors, which parent is more likely to allow the child or children frequent and continuing contact with the non-custodial parent. In addition, the court cannot base its decision upon the gender of either party. 

Oklahoma's medical insurance guidelines:

Generally, the decision as to which parent is going to provide medical insurance coverage for the child and how medical bills will be paid is set out in the marital settlement agreement. If it is not, the courts may order a parent to provide medical insurance coverage for the child. Usually, if a reasonable medical insurance plan is available through one of the parent’s employment, they are required to cover their child on it.

How permanent are the provisions for Oklahoma child support and custody ?

Court orders providing for support and custody of children are subject to change or modification to reflect significant changes in income, and/or living arrangements of the children.

While all orders concerning the children are modifiable in the future, we encourage you to not enter into an agreement based on the idea that it can always be changed or modified later.

Wage garnishment for child support payments:

Most states, including Oklahoma, have a provision for withholding child support directly from the earnings of the parent who has been ordered to provide support. The payments are withheld much like income tax is withheld from earnings payments.

This way of paying and receiving child support is generally easier for both parties and considered a very dependable solution. The way it typically works is, once the support is withheld, it is then sent to the state agency authorized to receive and disburse payments. Once it has been verified that the support was paid, it is then sent to the parent designated to receive the support.

If a non-custodial parent can show that they are providing more than 50 percent of the support for dependents not included in the court order from a second marriage, and is not in arrears, no more than 50% of their disposable income can be attached if they cannot pay the full court-ordered amount of both orders.

That number goes to 55% if the non-custodial parent is in arrears, 60 percent for a person only providing support to dependents under the current order, and 65% for a person who is in arrears and paying only on the current order.

How does joint custody work?

Joint custody has become commonplace in much of the nation. However, in Oklahoma, the courts have no preference toward joint or sole custody.

Specifically, joint custody is a form of custody of minor children that requires both parents to share the responsibilities of the children, and for both parents to approve all major decisions related to the children.

While joint custody is a 50-50 sharing of responsibilities and major decisions affecting the children, it rarely works out to be a 50-50 sharing of time with the children. Often one parent is named as the primary joint custodian and the other parent is granted visitation. The primary joint custodian typically retains the decision making power to determine the child’s primary residence and school and to designate things such as the child’s primary physician.

How Oklahoma determines child visitation:

Generally, parents are free to visit with their children at all times that are mutually agreed to by both parents. However, when parents cannot agree to exactly when visitation will occur, the standard visitation schedule accepted most everywhere in the nation is:

  • every other weekend
  • several weeks during the summer
  • alternating holidays
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