INSTRUCTIONS TO STAFF 340:25-5-178
1. Oklahoma Department of Human Services Child Support Services (CSS) staff must calculate, per Sections 118 through 118I of Title 43 of the Oklahoma Statutes (43 O.S. §§
118 through 118I) on the child support computation form, each parent's contribution toward:
(1) the base child support according to the combined adjusted gross income of both parents following the child support guidelines schedule per 43 O.S. §
(2) any actual medical and dental insurance premium; and
(3) any actual employment related child care expenses per 43 O.S. § 118G and Oklahoma Administrative Code 340:25-5-178.
2. When the child(ren) is receiving monthly Social Security (SS) benefits from the noncustodial parent's (NCP) claim, either disability or retirement, the benefit is offset from current child support per 43 O.S. §
118B(G), and the remainder is offset against any cash medical support.
3. (a) When a parent or minor child is disabled and receiving monthly Supplemental Security Income (SSI),CSS excludes SSI from either parent's gross income per 43 O.S. §
(b) When a parent's Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD) benefit amount or a combination of SSD and SSI benefits does not exceed the maximum monthly SSI benefit amount, CSS staff uses only the SSD amount as income and requests the court deviate from the guidelines to set the current child support at $0. In support of the deviation, CSS state's attorneys advocate the guidelines amount is unjust or inappropriate under the circumstances, because it treats a similarly situated parent who receives only SSI benefits differently from a parent receiving a combination of benefits that equals the SSI amount.
(1) An example of the unjust guideline amount is:
(A) a parent with some work history receives a total of $710 in monthly Social Security benefits. This includes $350 SSD and $360 SSI benefits. Under the guidelines, child support would be calculated based on the monthly $350 SSD benefit. The parent would be ordered to pay child support because the child would not be receiving an SSD benefit at this level of payment; or
(B) a similarly disabled parent without work history would receive the full $710 as SSI benefits and not be ordered to pay any child support. Therefore, CSS state's attorneys request the court to deviate from the guideline computation per 43 O.S. § 118H due to the guideline amount being unjust and inappropriate under these circumstances.
(2) The maximum monthly SSI benefit amount is found at the SSI Federal Payment Amounts webpage at: http://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/SSIamts.html.
4. (a) When CSS staff verifies an NCP is receiving disability through the Veterans Administration (VA) and the custodial person (CP) is receiving an apportionment of the benefits on behalf of a minor child, CSS requests the court:
(1) consider the apportionment as alternative compliance with the child support order; and
(2) calculate child support in the same manner as when SSD benefits are received on behalf of a minor child per 43 O.S. § 118B(G).
(b) CSS staff requests the court include the apportionment as part of the NCP's income.
(c) When the child support amount is:
(1) greater than the apportionment, CSS requests the court find the apportionment partially satisfied the child support obligation and the NCP pay only the amount in excess of the apportionment; or
(2) equal to or less than the apportionment, CSS requests the court find the child support obligation is met and no additional child support amount must be paid by the NCP.
(d) When the court grants the CSS request, CSS staff memorializes the court's order regarding the offset of the current child support amount by the apportionment. For example, CSS staff includes the following language in the child support order. When the child support amount is:
(1) greater than the apportionment: "The court finds the obligor is satisfying the child support obligation by the apportionment of VA benefits in the amount of $x.xx. Therefore, the obligor is ordered to pay the remaining amount of $x.xx. If at any time the apportionment is not in effect, the obligor is responsible for payment of the full current child support as shown on the guidelines computation attached."; or
(2) is equal to or less than the apportionment: "The court finds the obligor is satisfying the child support obligation by the apportionment of VA benefits in the amount of $x.xx. Therefore, the court finds the child support obligation is met in full and no further payment by the obligor is required. If at any time the apportionment is not in effect, the obligor is responsible for payment of the full current child support as shown on the guidelines computation attached."
5. CSS staff consults with the district office CSS state's attorneys for a legal interpretation when the amount of the monthly child support obligation in the body of an order conflicts with the amount in the child support computation form.
6. CSS staff computes the child support obligation on the basis of actual monthly gross income for an NCP or a CP who is permanently physically or mentally incapacitated per 43 O.S. §
118B(C)(2). The documentation required to determine if an NCP or a CP is permanently physically or mentally incapacitated includes a Social Security Administration award letter or a physician's statement affirming the:
(1) person is unable to do the work they did before and cannot adjust to other work because of a medical condition; and
(2) disability must continue or be expected to continue for at least one year or to result in death.
7. CSS staff accesses the Guidelines screen (GLS) on the CSS automated Oklahoma Support Information System. CSS staff may also use Form 03EN025E, Child Support Computation, and its child support guidelines computation form completion instructions, available on the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) website at http://www.okdhs.org.
8. (a) CSS staff reviews information provided by the parents to determine if a parent's earning records or other evidence of income is in accordance with the parent's prior job history. CSS staff consults with the district office CSS state's attorneys if the information provided by the parent differs significantly from the parent's known job history or earning ability.
CSS applies the following hierarchy, subject to other evidence of a parent's job history or earning ability when requesting the court to determine a parent's monthly gross income.
(1) Written earning record.
(A) When a parent has a written earning record,
CSS uses the:
(i) actual monthly gross income; or
(ii) average of the gross monthly income for the time actually employed during the previous three years.
(B) When a parent has a written earning record from an employer, such as a paystub or employer verification of hourly wages, CSS uses that written earning record as the parent's income in the child support computation form.
(C) When a parent has evidence of employment for the last three years but the parent's wages are inconsistent, CSS uses the average of the last three years income.
(D) When the biological parent (BP) is receiving family assistance benefits, CSS staff uses actual income in the child support computation when that information is available. Otherwise CSS staff imputes an amount based on the parent's work history, education, training, and availability to work. When these options are unavailable, staff imputes minimum wage for up to a 40-hour work week.
(2) Ability to work and no written earning record. For time periods when a parent has an earning ability, but no written earning records, CSS uses the most equitable of the minimum wage paid for a 40-hour work week or an amount of gross income a person with comparable education, training, and experience could reasonably expect to earn using either Oklahoma Wage Report from the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission's website, available at
http://www.oesc.state.ok.us/lmi/publications/publication.asp?publD=12, or Oklahoma State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates from the United States Department of Labor website, available at
www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes/ok.htm . For example, when:
(A) the parent is purposefully underemployed, CSS uses at least minimum wage in the child support computation forms; or
(B) there is information indicating a parent is a plumber and CSS has no evidence of income, CSS may use the median hourly wage for a plumber in the child support computation form.
(A) When a parent has a written earning record for some months, but no written earning record for other months, CSS may apply both (2) and (3) of this subsection.
(B) For example, a parent may have a written earning record showing earnings of $6,000 in a quarter and no written earning record for the other quarters of the year. Staff inquires about the parent's earning ability for those quarters without a written earning record, and may impute income for those quarters or use actual wages, according to the evidence.
(4) Reduced earning ability.
(A) CSS uses actual income when a parent has reduced earning ability due to the parent's limited education, physical or mental disability, incarceration, or other obstacle to employment, and there is evidence the parent has income of less than minimum wage for 40 hours per week. For example when:
(i) a parent works 10 hours a week at $8 an hour, CSS uses actual income of $347.66 per month in the child support computation form;
(ii) an incarcerated parent has no assets or income, CSS uses actual income of $0 per month in the child support computation form. When an NCP is incarcerated for crimes against the CP or child, CSS does not modify the order using $0 for the income; or
(iii) a parent has documentation of a disability that prevents him or her from working at least 40 hours a week and is not receiving any disability benefits, CSS uses actual income, even when it is $0 per month, in the child support computation form.
(B) When a parent is incarcerated, CSS staff registers on VINE Link at
www.vinelink.com for notice of the imminent release or transfer of an incarcerated NCP. When registering, staff provides the anonymous district office email address as a method of contact.
(c) When establishing or modifying a child support order, CSS considers the Compliance Predictor Tool available on the Infonet. As part of the Healthy Families Initiative, the Compliance Predictor Tool is designed to encourage staff to request the court enter realistic child support orders. A realistic child support order is 20 percent or less of an NCP's gross monthly income.
9. When a parent is participating in the DHS Child Care Subsidy Program, CSS staff completes the child care subsidy section of the child support guidelines computation form.
10. (a) CSS staff requests the court establish child support orders for each parent in a deprived court action.
(b) When the parent has lost custody of more than one child and one or more of these children has a different mother or father, CSS staff requests the court deviate from the child support guidelines and set a child support order for the parent who lost custody per (c) of this Instruction.
(c) To determine the former CP's gross monthly income (Line 1 of the child support computation form), CSS staff follows 43 O.S. §§
118 through 118I.
(1) CSS staff calculates the child support obligation by using the former CP's gross monthly income and the average gross income amount of the other parent'sin Line 1 of the child support computation form.
(2) To determine the amount to use in Line 1 for the other parent's income, CSS staff averages all of the other parents' gross incomes and divide the total by the number of the other parents.
(d) For example, a mother has three children with three different fathers. The mother's gross monthly income is $1,000 per month. Father # 1 earns $1,500 per month, father # 2 earns $1,800 per month, and father # 3 is imputed at minimum wage, or $893 per month. CSS staff totals the fathers' income ($1,500 + $1,800 + $893) to obtain a total of $4,193. This amount is divided by three to obtain an average of $1,397.66. CSS staff calculates the total child support obligation using $1,000 for the mother and $1,397.66 for the father. The mother's child support obligation would be $299.04 for three children, $254.41 for two children, and $176 for one child. If there is a prior order against this former custodial parent, a new child support order supersedes that order.
11. CSS staff requests the court order support against each parent according to the parent's proportional share. When the parents of a child in the state's custody live together as an intact family and the total child support amount per the guidelines is equal to or exceeds 20 percent of the family's gross income, CSS staff requests a deviation when a child support amount set per the guidelines would cause extreme economic hardship.
12. The age of majority varies by state. CSS staff may use the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) Intergovernmental Reference Guide (IRG), available at
https://ocsp.acf.hhs.gov/irg/welcome.html, to obtain information about referrals to other states for establishment of support orders.
13. CSS staff follows the Guide to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), available from the CSS InfoNet for procedures regarding:
(1) waivers of rights and protection under SCRA;
(2) appearance in court actions;
(3) stays of court; and
(4) default orders.
. When a party provides CSS with a written request to reconsider a default order within 30-calendar days of the entry of the order, CSS staff:
(1) files the written request and sets the request for hearing; or
(2) provides the party with an appropriate CSS pro se self-help motion.
15. After one party files a written request, CSS sets the case for hearing and notifies the parties by mail per Rule 2 of the Rules for District Courts. After considering the income information provided, CSS requests the court:
(1) dismiss or deny the motion to vacate and leave the default order in effect; or
(2) enter a new order replacing the default order.