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Does Joint Custody Affect Oklahoma Child Support Computations?

Oklahoma child support computationsA common question among parents who are getting a divorce, or were never married, regards Tulsa, Oklahoma child support computations.

However, many factors determine how much child support will be owed. Expenses and income are just two of the possible factors.

Custody may, at times, become a part of Oklahoma child support computations.

FAQ: Oklahoma Child Support Computations

Although many believe that “child support” means that all of child’s financial needs are paid for by whichever parent has the most money, this is not the case in Oklahoma.

Here, the law presumes that both parents have a child support obligation. Under this presumption, both parents must contribute financially to their child.

However, because a custodial parent has the child most of the time, the law assumes they make financial contributions directly to the child.

For example, if Michael lives with his mom, the law presumes that she contributes to his financial needs by buying groceries and clothing, as well as paying for his educational and other expenses. In doing so, she contributes to him directly.

The dad, however, does not directly contribute financially to his son because they are not together most of the time.

This is why the dad will pay child support to the mom, who must use that money to Michael’s benefit.

For this reason, Oklahoma child support computations are calculated based on both parents’ income. For example, if the mom makes $2,500 and the dad makes $4,000, Michael’s child rearing costs are a percentage of $6,500.

Based on their respective incomes, the dad contributes about 60% of Michael’s child rearing costs and the mom contributes about 40%.

Essentially, the law strives to enable Michael to live the same lifestyle he would if both of his parents were together.

Child support is not necessarily based on his actual financial expenditures, but his overall lifestyle.

This is why the mom can use the dad’s child support payment to pay bills, car notes and rent—these are all things that benefit Michael.

Child Custody and Child Support

Although child custody and child support are determined separately, there is a presumption that one parent is the custodial parent and one is the noncustodial parent. This is why, in the scenario above, the dad pays the mom child support.

Sometimes, though, both parents share physical custody of their children. This means that both parents directly contribute about half of the time each to Michael’s financial needs.

Oklahoma provides an adjustment for such instances. Thus, Michael’s dad will likely not be required to pay as much child support to Michael’s mom.

The law would assume that he is spending a greater portion of his obligation directly on Michael.

If Michael’s mom is still the primary custodial parent, but Michael’s dad shares joint custody with her, this would not affect his child support obligation.

Legal custody is the ability to make decisions regarding your child’s religion, education, extracurricular activities, medical care, etc. It does not affect the amount of parenting time you have with your children.

Because of this, joint legal custody would have no effect on your child support obligation.

Free Consultation: Tulsa Child Custody Attorney

Child custody can be tricky, especially as it relates to Oklahoma child support computations.

If you are unsure of whether you are entitled to a child support adjustment due to an increase in parenting time, contact an experienced Tulsa child support attorney.

For a free consultation, call Divorce of Tulsa Law Office today at 918-924-5526.