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Child Support and Related Issues
Portland Child Support Attorney

When parents get divorced, one parent may be ordered to pay the other parent child support, which is to help the other parent care for the parties’ child or children. Unless the parents otherwise agree, the obligation to pay child support generally ends when a child turns 18 years old, or reaches age 21 if the child is attending college or vocational training. A child who is age 18 and is attending school or vocational training is a “necessary party” in a divorce proceeding, and, as a result, may be entitled to receive child support from one or both parents. Often, and for good reasons, parents do not want the child to participate in their divorce. A child who is between the ages of 18 and 21 and who is attending school may sign a waiver, after which he or she is not required to participate any further in the divorce proceeding.

In Oregon, the presumed amount of child support is set by state statutes and administrative rules. Those laws mandate that “guideline” child support be calculated in any judgment or court order for the support of children, including divorce judgments, judgments of legal separation, and orders regarding child support modifications.

The main factors in determining “guideline” child support include each parent’s gross income from any source, a parent’s work-related daycare expenses, the cost of health insurance for the child, the amount of parenting time each parent has with the child, and whether either parent has children from a prior relationship. If one party is not working, it will be assumed that he or she can earn at least minimum wage, and, in some cases, an amount that is consistent with that party’s historic earnings.

Under the guideline child support formula, it is assumed that the parent who receives child support is awarded the income tax deductions for the child or children for whom support is ordered. The parents, however, may agree to allocate dependent deductions in any manner. In a contested proceeding, the court has authority to award either parent the dependency deduction, as well.

Parents may agree to pay an amount that is either more than or less than guideline child support. For good reasons, the court may also order a parent to pay something other than guideline support, based on what are called “rebuttal factors.” For example, if a child is attending private school, the parents may agree to an amount of support that takes into account the cost of the private schooling. Similarly, a court may be persuaded that it is in a child’s best interest to remain in private school for the remainder of the school year in which the divorce occurs, or beyond, and may order one parent to contribute towards the cost of private schooling.

The state continuously updates and revises the process for calculating “guideline” support. To calculate child support, attorneys, mediators, and judges generally use the Oregon Child Support Guideline calculator. An online calculator is available for the public. The calculator was revised in July 2013, and is updated on a regular basis.

In addition to child support, each parent is usually required to pay a certain amount of a child’s uninsured health care expenses. Usually, the parents will divide such costs either equally or pro rata to their respective incomes.

Typically, the parent who is paying child support must maintain insurance on his or her life so that, if that parent dies, the child’s needs can be met.

If you have an existing child support obligation, or if you are entitled to receive child support, the state may help you obtain a modification of child support under certain circumstances. Peter can help you determine whether a modification of child support would be appropriate in your circumstances. It is also possible to modify judgment provisions regarding health insurance for children, life insurance, children’s unreimbursed health care expenses, and other issues related to child support. Peter can assist you with those tasks as well.

Please visit the links page of this website to access the child support calculator.

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