In Oklahoma, parents have a legal duty to support their children. Oklahoma has adopted the “income shares model”, which is based on the concept that the child should receive the same PR proportion of parental income that he or she would have received if the parents lived together. In an intact household, the income of both parents is generally pooled and spent for the benefit of all household members, including children.
Child support can be modified if the obligor (the paying parent) can demonstrate a material change of circumstances. The following would be considered a change in circumstances sufficient for modification: change in needs of child, change in income of parents, changes in child care or medical costs, a child no longer subject to the child support order (turning 18 and/or completing high school). Loss of a job by the paying parent is the most common reason child support is modified.
To modify child support, a motion to modify must be filed with the Court. The parents then exchange income information and evidence showing the change in circumstances. If the parents agree, the child support guidelines are calculated and become an order of the Court. If the parents disagree, the matter proceeds to trial for the Court to decide if a change of circumstances exists. If child support is modified (either by agreement or by the Court), the new obligation is retroactive to the date the motion to modify was filed by the obligor. If the obligor has overpaid child support, they can get credit by an offset against child support owed, or a credit against support moving forward over a 36-month period.
Until a new child support order is entered, it is important for the obligor to continue paying child support under the current order. Failure to do so could subject the obligor to a contempt action by the custodial parent.