Child support may be awarded in divorce cases and custody/parenting time cases involving unmarried parents. Children under the age of 18 may be entitled to child support unless they are married, emancipated, or have become self-supporting. Additionally, children over the age of 18 through their 21st birthday may be entitled to child support if they qualify as a “child attending school.”
Oregon Child Support Guideline Calculator
Child support in Oregon is determined by the Oregon Child Support Guidelines. Here is a link to the guideline calculator. The calculator provides an estimate as to what parent will pay child support and in what amount. The calculation is not a guarantee of the amount of child support that will be awarded in your case. The administrative law judge or court has the final decision making authority to determine the appropriate amount of child support in your case.
1. Gross Monthly Income
Income is one of the most important factors that influences the amount of child support awarded. Typically, the parents are able to agree on the amount of gross monthly income attributable to a party after exchange of financial documents. Other times, determining income is not straightforward, such as when a parent is self-employed, recently unemployed, or working less than full-time. In these types of cases it is important to seek experienced legal advice.
What if a parent is unemployed or working less than full-time? In most cases, the court will impute a parent with full time minimum wage in the state in which the parent resides. There are exceptions to this general rule such as when a parent is unable to work full-time due to a verified disability.
Court ordered spousal support paid or received is figured into the income portion of the calculation. So is the amount a parent pays in union dues.
2. Children – Overnights
For children under the age of 18 and 18-year old children attending high school and living with a parent, the calculator will take into consideration the average annual overnights the children spend with each parent. If you have questions about calculating the average number of overnights, you may find the Parenting Time Calculator helpful. You might also want to read Holtey Law’s past blog post on Legal Custody, Physical Custody and Parenting Time.
In order to run the calculation you will also need to know the amount each parent pays for work related child care for children under the age of 13 or disabled i.e. costs you and/or the other parent are incurring in order to work , look for work, or training or education necessary to obtain a job. Each county has a maximum claimable amount. For more information on your county click here.
4. Children – Social Security or Veterans’ Benefits Paid to a Child
If a child receives social security or veterans’ benefits, this too must be included in the child support calculation.
5. Children – Non-joint Child
A non-joint child is a child born or adopted from another relationship. To claim this deduction the non-joint child must reside in the parent’s household or the parent must be ordered to pay ongoing support for the non-joint child. A stepchild only qualifies a parent for a non-joint child deduction if the parent is ordered to pay ongoing support for the stepchild.
6. Healthcare Coverage – Parent
The child support calculation will deduct the amount each party pays for your own health insurance coverage from your gross monthly income. If you are unsure what the monthly cost of your individual coverage is contact your HR representative or health plan in order to determine the amount you pay for your individual coverage. If you are not sure what the other party pays – you will need to request this information from him or her directly.
Photo: Paula Ferrari
7. Healthcare Coverage – Children
If one or both parents provide the children with health insurance coverage you must indicate so on the calculation and the amount each pays for such coverage. Again, you may need to do some research to determine the amount paid for this portion of the coverage.
If neither party is providing the children with health insurance coverage, you may be ordered to do so. If neither of you has access to health insurance for your children, then the court may order a certain monthly amount of cash medical support. Cash medical support is the additional amount a parent is ordered to pay to help for the cost of health care coverage and uninsured medical expenses of the child.
8. Departing Child Support
Possible reasons for departing from the Oregon child support guidelines (either up or down) include but are not limited to the following:
- The special hardships of a parent, such as medical circumstances and extraordinary travel costs related to the exercise of parenting time;
- The special needs of the child;
- Tax consequences; and
- The income of a spouse or domestic partner.