Can I get financial support for my children and myself?
Possibly. As long as paternity is established, and the child is living with you, you are entitled to receive support for your child if you apply for it. If you are married, you may be able to get spousal support (alimony). However, the court makes separate decisions when awarding support for you and your children, so it is possible that you may only be able to get support for your children, and not for yourself. It is also possible that you can get both.
Support for your child. Child support is usually addressed in the custody agreement. However, if your custody agreement does not order the noncustodial parent to pay child support and you do not have any other child support order, the noncustodial parent does not have a legal obligation to pay child support. In order to make the noncustodial parent pay, you must get an order awarding you child support. When deciding how much child support to award, the court generally considers the following factors for both parents:
- Amount of time the child lives with each parent
- Income from work (including tips, commissions, bonuses, etc.)
- Income from partnerships, business, corporations, practices, etc.
- Rental income (if either parent owns property and rents it out)
- Interest income from investments
- Social Security benefits
- Worker's compensation benefits
- Unemployment benefits
- Disability benefits
- Prizes or gambling winnings
Things that are NOT considered when deciding how much the child support payments:
- Child support, adoption subsidies, or foster care payments that you receive for other children
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Food Stamps
- General Assistance and State Supplemental Payments for Aged, Blind, and the Disabled
- Any income the child gets (e.g., disability benefits) except that Social Security Title II benefits are counted as income.**
There are other sources of income not mentioned in the list above that can be considered – if you or your child receives a different type of income than listed above, you may want to consult with an attorney to see how that income will be calculated. You can find legal referrals on our OK Finding a Lawyer page. To get a rough idea of how much child support you may receive, go to AllLaw.com's Oklahoma child support calculator.
If you are applying for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the Child Support Enforcement Department (CSED) of the Department of Human Services will automatically seek child support from the non-custodial parent. See their TANF and CSED websites for more details.
For information on enforcing a child support order, go to our Child support section.
Support for yourself. Alimony (also called spousal support) is something that you can ask for as a part of your divorce*** or by filing a petition in the district court before getting a divorce. You can get alimony without divorce in the district court for the same reasons (grounds) that a person could use to get divorced.**** Some of the most common grounds for divorce or alimony without divorce are extreme cruelty (abuse), habitual drunkenness, adultery, and incompatibility.
* 43 O.S. § 118B(A)
** 43 O.S. § 118B(B)
*** 43 O.S. § 121(B)
**** 43 O.S. § 129