Child support is a court-ordered payment made by one parent to the other parent to aid their child or children. Child support laws in Oregon outline the amount of support based on custody or how much time the child lives with each parent and their income and finances.

The parent who does not have primary physical custody of the child, or lives with a child less than half the time, is usually the parent ordered to make child support payments.

Child Support Lawyers in Oregon

Few legal issues get as complicated as child support. Whether you are looking to get child support or are being asked to pay it, you have to know your rights. If you live in Oregon, the state’s Department of Justice’s Oregon Child Support Program is available to educate you on your responsibilities and rights associated with child support and your child.

Why Is Child Support Necessary?

The objective of child support is to provide for the child even in cases where they do not live with both parents. Raising children is costly, and both parents are liable for the financial support of their children. Child support is necessary to make sure both parents fulfill their financial responsibilities to the child.

Child support payments are intended to go toward the costs involved in raising a child. Some examples include:

  • Food, shelter, and clothing;
  • Medical care and health-related costs;
  • Educational costs.

Both parents must financially support their children. Mandatory child support is how the court can make sure that non-custodial parents contribute to their children’s needs. Mandatory means that support is required by law.

The parent required to pay cannot evade that obligation, and the parent with physical custody of the children cannot refuse to accept the child support payments the court has ordered for the child.

Who Needs to Pay Child Support?

The parent that takes care of the child more is the one who obtains child support from the other parent. Nevertheless, even if you have the child for less time than the other parent, you may be able to use parenting time credit to reduce the amount of child support you may owe.

Parenting time credit is when the amount you owe is decreased because even though you are not the custodial parent, the child spends a lot of time with you.

How Is the Amount of Child Support Determined?

Oregon has guidelines to calculate the specific child support payment in each case. The court decides how much the support payments will be based on the specific circumstances of the parents who will be paying. The guidelines will usually give the court a range, and then the judge can order an amount within that range.

When figuring out the final child support obligation in every case, certain factors must be considered. Those factors usually include:

  • The child’s specific needs, including healthcare needs and medical expenses, education, childcare, and other special needs.
  • How many children the parent is responsible for supporting,
  • The custodial parent income compared to that of the other parent.
  • The ability of the non-custodial parent to pay.
  • In the case of divorce, the court might consider the child’s standard of living before the divorce or separation.

Each parent will submit their financial details to the court as part of the process. This is usually in the form of a financial statement that outlines all monthly income and expenditures. The court uses the financial details and the amount of time each parent spends with the child under any custody arrangement and visitation schedule and uses a child support calculator to determine the amount owed each month.

How Can I Petition for Child Support?

You can apply for child support through the court or the Oregon Child Support Program online. The program helps parents on public assistance or, for a small fee, parents who are having a hard time finding the other parent and getting them to pay.

Even if you do not have a lot of information about the other parent, you should still try to provide the other parent’s full name, address, social security number, date of birth (or age), place of current or last employment, any details on property or bank accounts, and basic information about your child to either the court or the Oregon Child Support Program.

What Are Some Additional Child Support Factors?

The court can regard any relevant information when determining a parent’s support obligation. The court will usually begin by looking at each parent’s gross income. Still, it will also consider things like taxes, social security deductions, healthcare payments, union dues, required professional licensing fees, and other child support obligations the parent might have.

Other factors might include the extra expenses one parent has incurred for their education or financial responsibilities for elderly or disabled family members. The court might also consider bonuses or commissions earned and their salary or wages.

Some courts might not stop after considering income. The court might consider a parent’s ability to earn versus their actual earnings in some cases. For instance, a parent who only earns $50,000 but who has the potential to earn $100,000 might be responsible for a child support payment calculated using the higher amount. This avoids non-custodial parents deliberately remaining underemployed to lower their support obligation.

In some cases, parents might agree regarding the child support payment. Nevertheless, the agreement will require a judge’s approval in almost every case since the judge must ensure the child’s best interests are met.

What If the Other Parent Will Not Pay Child Support?

If the other parent is not paying child support, there are a few ways the court can get the payments for you. The first consequence of not paying support is having one’s paycheck or tax refund garnished. If they still are not paying, they may lose their license or property, be denied a passport, and lower their credit score.

Can I Withhold Visitation If They Do Not Pay?

Just because the other parent has not paid child support does not mean you can stop them from seeing their child. If they have a visitation order, you are bound to obey it. Otherwise, the other parent can go to court and have their visitation order enforced.

How Can I Stop Paying Child Support?

If you think you should not be paying child support, you need to take steps to terminate child support legally. Please do not go on your own and stop paying because serious legal problems can arise if you do that.

Child support can be terminated if the child is emancipated or you and the other parent choose to live together. If you are a father and not listed on the birth certificate and were not married to the other parent, you can ask for a paternity test before ever paying child support.

Where Can I Find the Right Lawyer?

You should contact an Oregon child support lawyer immediately if you face child support issues. When you go to court for child support issues, you will need a lawyer to fight for what you and your family need. Don’t hesitate to find the right lawyer for your child support needs today.