Can You Appeal a Child Support Decision?
Child support decisions and determinations are based on several factors, including relative income between the parents and the individual needs of their child. These decisions might consider things like whether health insurance is available from one parent or if there are other children or dependents in the home. Of course, all of these circumstances can change over time—so does that mean that child support decisions should change as well?
Appealing a Child Support Decision
In most circumstances, every final judgment in Oklahoma can be appealed to a higher court. Appeals in family law decisions are similar to other types of appeals, which means that the parent has to ask the Oklahoma Supreme Court to review the case.
However, the Supreme Court does not review decisions of a lower court unless certain conditions are met. Specifically, most appeals will address one or two situations:
- The judge severely misconstrued or misapplied the facts of the case or
- The judge did not properly apply the law to calculate child support
An appeal is used to correct errors. It is not a method parents can use to retry their case or present additional information.
Child Support Modifications in Oklahoma
If there is a “material change in circumstances,” you might want to request that the court review and change an existing child support order. Oklahoma law sets out that any of the following could be considered a material change in circumstances:
- Increases or decreases in the child’s needs
- Increase or decrease in a parent’s income
- Changes in childcare expenses
- Changes in medical or dental insurance expenses
A child reaching the age of 18 will also be considered a material change in circumstances. However, this type of change is not automatic. A parent must usually still ask the court to change or discontinue a child support order for a child who becomes an adult.
Child support orders might also need to be adjusted if it has been a significant amount of time since the ruling was entered. As a general rule, if it has been three years or more since a child support order was entered, you may want to consider asking that it be reviewed with current income information.
Appealing a Child Support Order vs. Requesting a Child Support Modification
Instead of appealing a child support decision, most parents will end up requesting a modification of the decision if their circumstances have changed. The modification process is easier compared to appeals, which means it could be more likely to be granted.
Appeals have relatively short timelines. Modification can be requested at virtually any time. An Oklahoma family law attorney can often give you specific advice about whether an appeal or request for modification makes sense in your situation.
Get Help from Owens Law Office in Oklahoma City
Child support decisions can have a huge impact on you and your child’s lives. A family law attorney (or a divorce attorney) can be a helpful guide and advocate through this process. Learn more about how Owens Law Office can help by contacting our team.