Oklahoma employer tip: Oklahoma Child Support orders and independent contractors

If I am an Oklahoma business with independent contractors, do I still have to respond to an income assignment for child support?

Read on to find out.

The answer is yes.

From the employer’s standpoint, one of the benefits of using independent contractors is the relatively small amount of paperwork and expense required. However, there is at least one area where a business needs to treat its independent contractors the same as its employees: Oklahoma child support.

In Oklahoma, when you, the company, receive an income withholding order or garnishment for child support, you are obligated to compute and pay the amount due in the same manner as you would with an employee. According to the Oklahoma Department of Human Services:

5. Do I have to honor an IWO on contract employees?

Yes. Employers are required to honor IWO’s for contract employees.
Definition of income – “income” means income from any source and includes, but is not limited to, income from salaries, wages, commissions, bonuses, dividends, vacation pay, severance pay, pensions, rent, interest income, trust income, annuities, compensation as an independent contractor, social security benefits, workers; compensation benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, disability insurance benefits, gifts, prizes, and any form of periodic payment to an individual regardless of source, and any other payments made by any person, private entity, federal or state government, school district, or any entity created by law. [56 O.S. §237.7 (7)(a)]


This makes sense because the parent that is obligated to provide child support is required to pay for the support regardless of how the income is characterized, whether w-2 wages, commission or other.

Posted by Shawn Roberts

On this blog, I write about and try to answer practical Oklahoma legal questions. My focus and most experience is in estate planning and business issues including Oklahoma non-compete law. I make a living as an attorney in the law firm I founded, Shawn J. Roberts, P.C. in Oklahoma City. I live in Edmond with my wife Amy and my two children, Sam (19) and David (11). We live precisely in the path of where the "wind comes sweeping down the plains."