|Child support is a court ordered obligation to provide money to a parent to assist with the expenses associated with raising a child. These usually include the cost of food, housing, clothing, medical and dental care, insurance and a host of other expenses which are outlined in the Uniform Support Affidavit which can be found in the Form Section of this Site.
|The State of Oregon is required to follow the Oregon "Child Support Guidelines" to determine the amount of child support. The guidelines take into account the income of each parent, other children the parents have a legal duty support, work-related day care costs for the children, health insurance costs, spousal support, etc. The guidelines frequently change and can be viewed, along with the calculator at the web site for the Division of Child Support. See our Links Section. The rules also have a limited set of “rebuttal criteria” which allows a court to adjust a party’s income, costs or support calculation. All of those will affect the amount of support but there are specific rules and procedures for the application of each. For more information check the link to the Division of Child Support.
|No. Child support may be requested and awarded with or without a Judgment of Divorce. It can also be part of a Judgment of Legal Separation.
|Both parents have a legal duty to support the children. The Court can require one or both parents to contribute to the support of the children.
|No. Support and parenting time are separate issues in that regard. On the other hand, there is a provision if Oregon law that allows you to go to Court and ask to end or suspend the child support order until you receive your parenting time, but only a court can suspend the obligation and this will only be granted upon proof that you have had very serious problems obtaining your parenting time and there is no other alternative. Contempt is the typical method to address non-payment of support or denial of parenting time.
|The court is required to insure that a parent be ordered to pay for the children's health insurance if it is available through work, a union, or a group. The cost of the insurance coverage will affect the child support calculation.
|The legal custodian has the legal obligation to pay such expenses. The Support Judgment is the legal document which will spell out any obligation that the non-custodial parent has. The current child support guidelines assume that the custodial parent will pay the first $250.00 of unreimbursed medical expenses. Those guidelines do not address what happens to the rest. Oregon law requires that the court address the issue of uninsured expenses and it is typical for the Judgment of Dissolution to address how the uninsured expenses will be divided. It is important for the Judgment to not only address the division of who pays what percentage but also what is covered (i.e. dental, orthodontia, vision, counseling, etc.) and how reimbursement will occur.
|In Oregon, a parent usually must pay child support until the child is eighteen years old. If the child is going to school or job training at least half time and maintains at least a 'C' average, the child support can continue to age 21. If the child is physically or mentally handicapped, child support may be extended indefinitely. Child support can end prior to age 18 if the child gets married, joins the military, or becomes legally emancipated. There are specific rules and requirements regarding children between the ages of 18-21 and it is wise to consult an attorney about those rules.
|Child support payments are not treated as income to the party receiving them, nor are they treated as an income deduction to the party making them.
|The calculated amount is called the "Presumed Amount of Support" and there are a limited number of exceptions that allow the support amount to be altered, either raising or lowering a party's income, raising or lowering a party's special expenses or simply raising or lowering the amount of support. These are called Rebuttal deviations. Unless your case involves these deviations, the presumed amount will apply. This is a very complex area of law and it requires a skilled lawyer to successfully present evidence of applicable rebuttal factors. The following summarizes the criteria for deviation from the presumed level of support:
- There is evidence of other resources of a parent
- The parents reasonable necessities affect the presumptive level of support
- The net income after withholdings required by law or employment affects the ability to pay
- There is a relevant ability to borrow
- There are other dependents that affect the presumption
- A parent has special hardships such as medical or extraordinary visitation travel related costs
- The child has extraordinary or diminished needs
- The custodial parent should stay home as a homemaker
- How the tax consequences of child tax credits, earned income credits deductions or spousal support consequences affect the presumption
- There is a financial advantage from a spouse or domestic partner
- There are financial benefits afforded from employment including self/family employment
- There is a child attending school or not living at home
- There have been prior findings regarding the reason for the existing order
- The net income of a party after payment of mutually incurred debts which affects the ability to pay
- There is a tax advantage or special adverse tax effect of a party's income
- There is income which is a return of capital
|Every two years either parent can ask their local county Deputy District Attorney, Support Enforcement Division or the Dept. of Justice, Child Support Division, to do a free support review to determine if support can be changed. A private attorney does not have that right. On the other hand, a private attorney can always file a motion to modify support, at any time, as long as there has been a substantial change of circumstances since the last support order. For example, if 6 months after your divorce you lose your job, that might be considered a substantial change of circumstances.
|Unmarried couples can petition the court for relief when their relationships dissolve, however, the same standards used in divorce will not apply. All rights, except child related rights, are based on the contractual agreement of the parties.
|Either parent can obtain the courts help to decide issues of custody or support. Once paternity (parentage) of a child is established, the father of a child born out of wedlock has the same rights and obligations as a father who was married to the mother. Click here for more information on issues of Custody and Parenting Time. Click here for more information on Child Support.