Special Expenses Can Include Additional School Expenses
Video Transcribed: What are special expenses under Oklahoma Child Support Law? I’m Tulsa attorney, James Wirth, and that’s the question that we have today. It’s part of a series that we’re doing related to child support in Oklahoma.
So first off, what is the relevance of special expenses? Well, it’s relevant because the child support guidelines determine how much child support is, it’s primarily based on the party’s income, but there are also a few other factors.
You throw that into the guidelines calculator, and it spits out the amount of child support. But in some circumstances, that can deviate. There has to be a good basis to deviate, and special expenses are one potential reason to deviate.
Special expenses are where perhaps there’s been historically provided for the kids’ private school tuitions or special camps or school-sponsored extracurricular activities. For those types of events, if they’ve been historically provided, you could request that the court deviate upward from the child support guidelines so that you can still afford to do that.
So if we have parents that are married, the kids have been going to this private school or been doing this special program based on their extraordinary aptitude for a certain ability, if that’s been done historically, now they’re getting divorced, the primary custodian thereafter may not have the funds available to continue to afford those things.
Child support may not be enough to support the child as well as to support those additional costs. So they could request a deviation from the guidelines and say, “Hey, he’s always provided this or always paid for that before. He should be ordered to continue to do so on top of base child support.” Under the right circumstances, that can be done.
So what are the right circumstances? This has some factors, and it’s part of the Oklahoma Child Support Guidelines. It’s actually Title 43, section 118H. What it says is that some factors the court may consider in determining whether to deviate from such extraordinary expenses include a history of expenditure for such activities, the financial ability of the parents to provide for such activities, and whether the child has exhibited an extraordinary aptitude. So of these factors, the first two are going to be the most important, I believe.
Whether there’s a history of it, number two, whether the parents can afford to pay this additional cost. And then the last one, probably a little less important, is whether the child has exhibited an extraordinary aptitude for that activity.
So what is a special expense? It’s those expenses that are above and beyond what is normal as far as school-sponsored activities, extracurriculars, and private school tuition, where the court believes that you should deviate from the guidelines, and add additional child support to continue covering those things that have historically been provided, or that are appropriate now based on the parent’s ability to pay and the child’s extraordinary aptitude.
But if you’ve got a question about child support in Oklahoma, don’t just watch these videos, talk to an attorney privately and confidentially to get legal advice, to get that scheduled with a Tulsa Child Support Collection Attorney at my office. You can go online to makelaweasy.com.