Thanks again. The question of whether you qualify for alimony is usually resolved by looking at your capacity to earn -- which is not necessarily what you are earning at the time you go to court -- how much your spouse earns, and your standard of living during the marriage.
You might also be required to make some changes in your life and work. For example, if you have a part-time job that doesn't pay well, you may be required to attempt to find full-time employment in a better-paid field. Experts called vocational evaluators are sometimes hired to report to the court on the job prospects for a spouse who hasn't been fully employed for a while. The evaluator will administer vocational tests and then shop your credentials with potential employers.
I've got to be honest with you--5 years of marriage is a pretty short time (though it might not feel like it) and many times the court will not award alimony unless the marriage has been for 10 years or more. However, if you secure an alimony order, but your spouse refuses to make the required payments, take immediate legal action to enforce the order through a "contempt" proceeding or an "earnings assignment order." Orders to pay monthly alimony have the same force as any other court order and, if handled properly, can be enforced with the very real possibility of obtaining regular payments. If necessary, a court may jail a reluctant payor to show that it means business.
Since 1987, Oklahoma has had child support guidelines. The statutory guidelines determine the amounts of support that parents at particular family income levels are presumed to spend on their children. Child support calculated under the guidelines is presumed by law to be the correct amount of child support.
In Oklahoma, the first step is to determine each parent's adjusted gross income and add the numbers together to arrive at combined gross monthly family income. Gross income can be calculated one of several ways, including:
- actual monthly income, or income equivalent to a forty-hour work week (overtime may or may not be included as the court deems equitable);
- average monthly income while employed during the previous three (3) years;
- minimum wage paid for a forty-hour work week, or;
- imputed monthly income for a person with comparable education, training and experience.
For the self-employed, gross income is defined as "gross receipts minus ordinary and necessary expenses required for self-employment or business operations."
The Oklahoma Child Support Guideline Schedule is used to determine the parents' base child support. The schedule is based on the combined income of both parents and the number of children in the household. Each parent's percentage share of the combined gross monthly family income sets that parent's percentage share of the base child support obligation. The parent who is not the primary custodian of the child generally becomes the "obligor," and pays the primary custodian his or her share of the base support.
The actual medical and dental insurance premium for the child is allocated between the parents in the same proportion as their adjusted gross income and added to the base child support obligation.
Each case is different. Each variable presents the potential for disagreement. Your results will vary. You can calculate Oklahoma child support online (unofficially) at a site maintained by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services or at a privately maintained site dedicated to the Families In Transition program. http://188.8.131.52/childsupport/guidelines/calc.htm