Child support is money one parent must pay to the other parent (or directly to the child if the child is over 18 in some circumstances) for the care, support, education and welfare of the parties' children. The obligation to pay child support is usually created through a judgment or order from the court or an administrative agency, the Division of Child Support.
In Oregon, an obligation to pay child support for a child continues until a child turns 18, although a support obligation may continue until the child reaches 21 if the child is a "child attending school" as defined by state statute.
Child support can be established through an administrative proceeding filed by the Division of Child Support, through a paternity action filed by a party, in a petition for custody action between unmarried parents, or in a dissolution of marriage proceeding. In all cases child support is established by using the state's Uniform Child Support Guidelines.
To calculate child support in Oregon a party must use Oregon's Uniform Child Support Guidelines. The Oregon Uniform Child Support Guidelines is a formula which takes into account the parties' respective incomes, the parties' parenting plan; any child care costs, medical insurance costs, and uninsured ongoing medical expenses; in addition to other factors. Calculating a parties’ income for child support purposes is usually straightforward but can be complicated if a party is self-employed. Once the parties' information is inputted into the formula, the formula determines a presumptively correct amount of child support. The presumed amount is generally followed unless specific findings called “rebuttal factors” are made that the amount is unjust and not appropriate based on the facts of the particular case.
The Oregon Child Support Guidelines may also impose an additional obligation within a child support determination in the form of what is called "cash medical support." Cash medical support is an additional amount a parent may be ordered to pay to help defray the cost of health care coverage for a child or to help with the uninsured medical expenses of a child.
Possible factors to justify a deviation from the presumed amount of child support, called “rebuttal factors,” are set forth in the Oregon Child Support Guidelines. These factors include circumstances such as other available resources of a parent, the reasonable necessities of a parent; the net income of a parent; a parent's ability to borrow money; the number and needs of other dependents if the parent; the desirability of the custodial parent remaining in the home with the children; application of tax issues; and the financial advantage afforded a parent by living with a partner in a relationship similar to a spousal relationship. It is not common for a judge to deviate from the presumed amount of child support.
This can be a complicated area of the law. For more information, please contact a Bend family law attorney at Baxter Harder, LLC.