For those of us who are parents, our children are the most important part of our lives. We do just about anything to keep them safe and put their well-being ahead of our own. When it comes to divorce, both parents remain responsible for sustaining any children, and part of this often takes the form of Oregon child support.
These ongoing payments are designed to provide for the continuing financial benefit of any minor children. In Oregon, child support is often one of the biggest post-divorce expenses you encounter. Making sure you know what to pay, and why, is an important facet.
With that in mind, here are eight important and frequently asked questions regarding Oregon child support. By no means an exhaustive list, this should hopefully provide a broad idea of what to expect.
Who Is Entitled To Child Support?
After a divorce, the court generally awards child support in Oregon to the custodial parent. These payments cover the general care and well-being of children under the age of 18. In certain circumstances, these payments may also continue until the child turns 21 or beyond.
What Does Child Support Cover?
Wide-ranging, child support in Oregon covers any factor that contributes to a child’s care. These payments entail all the basic necessities. This includes:
- a safe, secure place to live,
- medical coverage,
- child care,
- educational needs,
- clothing, and the like.
Essentially, if it plays a part in caring for a child, it falls into this category. While child support covers the needs, it doesn’t necessarily cover the wants. Extras can figure into the decision, but ultimately the court only takes necessities into account.
How Do Courts Determine Child Support?
A variety of factors determine the amount of child support payments in Oregon. The court considers the needs of the children, as well as each parent’s income and ability to pay. Things like debt, regular payments like union dues or spousal support, and other financial elements play a part. There’s a formula to figuring out child support.
What Constitutes Income?
When determining child support in Oregon, the courts look at your gross income. As opposed to your take home pay, this number is what you earn before removing any deductions. This includes monthly salary before taxes, and also accounts for income coming from other sources, like bonuses or commissions.
Does A New Spouse’s Income Impact Child Support?
After a divorce, it’s common to establish a new household with a new spouse or partner. One question that arises is whether or not this person’s income impacts your child support? In general, no, this doesn’t change your child support in Oregon. Only your income and that of your ex figure into the calculation. That said, it’s rare, but in some situations, the court may consider the overall financial situation in a household, and that may also include income from a new spouse or partner.
Can I Modify Child Support?
Child support payments are often steep and can represent a financial hardship on the payer. The good news is it’s possible to modify a child support agreement. The bad news, however, is that like most cases trying to change a court-issued decree, it’s difficult. The best way is to dispute the amount before it becomes final. In Oregon, you can request a hearing to present evidence to rebut a proposed amount. This goes both ways. Either parent can use this opportunity to argue that the number should be higher or lower.
Things become harder to deal with once the court orders Oregon child support. It can be done, but it’s a longer, more difficult process. If there’s been a significant change in circumstances, you can petition the court to modify. Most often a change in circumstances represents the loss of a job, but there are other cases. A new baby is one example, as is a substantial shift in the amount of time your child spends with you. In cases like this, the court may alter the payment amount.
When Does Oregon Child Support End?
As per ORS 107.108, Oregon child support can last until 21 if he or she attends school. This covers a broad spectrum of educational possibilities. It includes high school, community college, and four-year universities. Professional, vocational, and technical training designed to increase employment prospects also fall under this umbrella, as do GED programs. Additionally, if a child has special needs and requires lasting parental care, the court may also order payments to continue.
Oregon child support, as well as elsewhere, is complicated, layered, and depends on many factors. These are just a few of the questions bound to pop up as you go through the process. Hiring an experienced child support lawyer to guide you along may be in your best interest. Spending a little bit of money now to avoid pitfalls can save you much more in the long run.