What You Need to Know: Oregon Child Support
Often, the most difficult issues in an Oregon divorce are those involving children, including child custody and child support determinations. Under Oregon law, both parents have a legal obligation to support their children. Thus, when a judge awards primary custody to one parent, the other parent will typically be responsible for child support payments.
Child support refers to money paid by a non-custodial parent to the custodial parent for the care, support, education and welfare of the couple’s children. Unlike spousal support or questions involving the division of assets, the right to child support belongs to the child who receives the support, meaning any agreement between the parties is subject to the court’s approval.
Judges do not award child support in every case. Before child support is ordered, the court will consider the following:
- The income of each parent;
- The amount of time each parent spends with the under the parenting plan;
- Any child care costs that will be incurred by the custodial parent;
- The costs of medical insurance;
- Any ongoing medical expenses that are not covered by insurance; and
- Any other relevant factors such as the receipt of Social Security or Veterans benefits.
When coming up with the exact amount of child support that a non-custodial parent must pay, the court will use a predetermined formula that takes each of the above factors into account. This will give the court the presumptive amount of support. However, in rare circumstances, judges can deviate from the amount of presumptive support. Most often, a judge will award cash support, but a judge can order other types of child support, such as requiring the non-custodial parent provide health insurance for the minor children. rules.
Oregon child support payments are typically for children under the age of 18. Notably, if a child under 21 is still in school, they too may be eligible for child support using slightly different rules.
Once the court comes up with an amount of child support, the non-custodial parent will typically have automatic payroll deductions taken out of their paycheck. That said, parents can arrange to send cash, or pay by credit or debit card using an online portal.
The majority of child support orders are entered during an Oregon divorce proceeding. However, there are other times when a party may seek child support. For example, child support can also be ordered through an Oregon paternity case or through a modification order.
Child Support in Paternity Proceedings
Before a court can award child support to the custodial parent, paternity must be established. There are several ways to establish paternity:
If the parents were married at the time a child was born, the husband is presumed to be the child’s father;
For unmarried parents, paternity can be established either by submitting paperwork in which the putative father acknowledges paternity or through a formal legal proceeding.
Of course, if a father acknowledges he is a child’s father, the process is usually a simple one. However, if the putative father denies paternity, then the court may order genetic testing. Once paternity is established, the court will weigh the relevant factors and determine the appropriate amount of child support.
Child Support Through Modification Orders
If an Oregon family court judge has already ordered child support, either party can move to modify the order. However, a judge will only modify a child support order if the requesting party can show that there has been a material change in circumstances. For example, the following may be reasons for a modification request:
- The custody arrangement between the parties has changed;
- The number of children either party is responsible for has increased or decreased;
- Either parties’ income has changed; or
- The needs of the child have changed.
If both parties agree to a modification request, courts will generally accommodate the request provided it is in the best interests of the child. However, often, child support modification requests are contested, and a hearing will be required.
Schedule a Consultation With an Oregon Child Support Attorney
If you are in the process of seeking child support in Oregon, or believe that an existing child support order no longer accurately reflects your situation, contact one of the dedicated Oregon family law attorneys at Gearing, Rackner & McGrath, LLP. As dedicated Portland divorce lawyers, we have extensive experience handling all types of divorce cases, as well as the related issues that come up when going through a divorce, including child custody and child support. To learn more about how our award-winning attorneys can assist you in obtaining child support or modifying an existing child support order, call us at 503-222-9116 or contact us through our online form to learn more about how we can help.