Divorcing parents in Oregon face numerous decisions as they lay the groundwork for the next chapter of their lives. As they negotiate the division of marital property, they must also navigate child custody and child support matters. Such discussions can be emotionally challenging and heated, so it is important to work with a trusted and compassionate Portland divorce attorney to help you advocate for your child’s best interests. The goal of child support is to ensure both parents are providing a fair amount of financial support so the child may enjoy a stable future. As you start to explore your divorce options in Oregon, it is natural to have questions about how child support is calculated and utilized. Below are three frequent questions about child support and some information to help you navigate the divorce process with greater clarity and confidence.
How is Child Support Calculated in Oregon?
Oregon courts prioritize the needs of the children when determining child support orders. A child support order typically requires one parent to make monthly payments to the other parent (usually the child’s primary caregiver) to assist with the costs associated with the care, education, and welfare of the child. Several factors influence the amount of support a parent will owe, including each parent’s income, how many overnights each parent has with the child, the child’s medical insurance costs, childcare costs, and more. There is an online tool provided by the Oregon Department of Justice where parents who are divorcing or separating can estimate the amount of child support they may owe or receive. Calculating child support can be a complicated process, so it is helpful to enlist the guidance of an experienced family law attorney for personalized support during this challenging time.
When Does Child Support End in Oregon?
A child support order compels the parent to make support payments until the child turns 18 years old. However, Oregon is one of a handful of states that allows some children to continue receiving support if they are still in school after they turn 18 (e.g., still in high school, enrolled in college, or otherwise actively pursuing higher education). Children between the ages of 18 and 21 who attend school may be eligible for continued child support payments if there is a current Oregon child support order already in place and they qualify as what is called a “child attending school” under Oregon law.
Requirements for Continued Child Support
In order for a child between the ages of 18 and 21 to qualify for continued child support payments, specific criteria must be met. First, a current child support order or judgment must already be in effect, and the judgment must not have been fully satisfied in the court records. The child cannot be married, legally emancipated, or on active military duty when receiving this additional support. Finally, the child support order or judgment must include language about the child attending school. If the child is not enrolled at least one-half of the time in school or stops making satisfactory academic progress, the paying parent may file a written objection to continuing the terms of the order.
When a Child Support Order Ends
There are a few ways that a child support order can end in Oregon. Once a child turns 18 (or 21, if they qualify as a child attending school), the support requirement ends. If the child marries or is otherwise emancipated, the order ends. Additionally, a child support order can end if a child attending school fails to respond to an objection from a paying parent, fails to provide required information (like a written notice of intent to attend school), or provides written notice that they no longer qualify as a child attending school.
Can Child Support Payments in Oregon be Modified?
Oregon courts understand that circumstances may change, preventing a parent from being able to fulfill their child support obligations. If you have experienced a substantial change of circumstance since the last order was established, you can petition the court to modify the existing order. Common reasons for seeking a child support modification include a sudden job loss or the unexpected increase in the child’s financial needs. Either parent may seek a modification at any time, if they can demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances as occurred. It is important to know that the Child Support Program has the authority to re-examine a child support order every three years to determine whether it still meets the Oregon child support guidelines, regardless of whether a change of circumstance has occurred.
Keeping Your Child’s Future as Bright as Possible
Your priority as a parent is ensuring that your child has the solid foundation they need to thrive and enjoy a bright future. Navigating child custody and child support matters is rarely easy, so remember that you can always reach out to a compassionate family law and divorce attorney for the support you need during this challenging time. Whether you need help negotiating a fair child support order or need to pursue a modification to an existing child support order, your attorney will be there to answer your questions, address your concerns, and guide you through the necessary steps to reach your desired outcome.
Call Kuzma Law, LLC, today at (503) 406-1787 to discuss your child support matter with a trusted and friendly Portland family law attorney.