Making sure your children have everything they need to live a healthy, happy life is a crucial part of parenting. In Oregon, both parents are obligated to provide financial support for their children based on child support guidelines as outlined by the state. Whether you are going through a divorce, custody, or need assistance with child support enforcement, our family law attorneys at Johnson and Taylor can help.
Factors Considered When Calculating Child Support
Several factors are used to determine the amount of child support payments in Oregon. The children’s specific needs, each parent’s income and ability to pay, and the amount of parenting time are all considered by the court. In addition, one or both parents are responsible for covering the cost of childcare, medical care, health insurance, and educational needs. Financial obligations such as debt, spousal support, union dues, and other expenses are taken into consideration as well.
Calculating Child Support
Although Oregon offers a calculation tool based on state child support guidelines, it’s important to seek the counsel of an experienced child support lawyer to ensure the amount you end up paying or receiving is fair. You’ll need to gather information such as the monthly gross income for you and your co-parent, spousal support, social security or veteran’s benefits, and other similar expenses or income. Using the Oregon parenting time calculator can help you figure out the average number of annual overnights the children are with each parent.
In addition to disclosing any income and expenses you have, you’ll provide information such as:
- Childcare costs for the children you share
- Childcare costs for any children from other relationships
- Health insurance coverage costs for you and your children
- Social security or veterans’ benefits the children receive due to a parent’s disability or retirement
- Other income and debts
Although the calculator estimates how much child support you will receive or be required to pay, a parent’s actual enforceable obligation can only be established by an administrative or court order.
Disputing the Amount of Child Support
If you believe the amount you are to receive or pay is inappropriate, a child support attorney can help you challenge it in a court hearing. You must present reasons you think the amount is unreasonable, and a judge will decide whether to modify payments after considering the following factors:
- Other financial resources
- Reasonable necessities
- Net income, particularly after payment of joint debt
- Ability to get a loan or borrow money
- Needs of other children or dependents
- Special hardships
- Whether the custodial parent is to remain a full-time parent and homemaker
- Tax implications
- Income of another spouse or live-in partner
- Evidence that children are not living with either parent
- The return on capital
- Education costs such as room, board, tuition, and fees
- Other factors that impact the children’s well-being and a parent’s ability to pay
If you’re a paying parent, it’s important to keep in mind that child support will not be reduced simply because you work less or not at all. If you’re unemployed or underemployed and have the potential to work more, the court may add prospective income you could be making.
When a Parent Refuses to Pay Child Support
Unfortunately, many people have trouble collecting child support payments from their co-parent. Known as the obligor, the paying parent is supposed to make child support payments on time and in full each month. An obligor cannot shirk their responsibility by simply failing to pay. If you’re having a problem collecting child support, a child support lawyer can help you take legal action. The state can garnish the obligor’s wages, collect tax refunds, place a lien on their property, and may suspend their passport and driver’s license.
A parent who doesn’t pay their court-ordered child support is considered in contempt of court. This means an attorney can help you make them appear in front of a judge to explain why they’re not paying. If they fail to show up, a warrant may be issued for their arrest.
When a Parent Can’t Pay Child Support
If you have been ordered to pay child support and can’t meet your monthly obligation due to unforeseen circumstances, a family law attorney can help you file a support modification that explains why you need a reduction. You must present evidence that shows why you do not have the income to pay. Whether it’s due to a job loss, illness, or another reason, you should contact your child support attorney as soon as possible.
Contact Our Child Support Lawyers in Oregon
At Johnson and Taylor, we understand that issues like child support can cause emotional and financial upheaval in families. Our Spanish-speaking attorneys are well-versed in Oregon child support law and always keep your children’s interests at the forefront. Johnson and Taylor litigates personal injury, divorce and family law and estate planning and probate cases. Our divorce and family and estate planning and probate lawyers serve clients in Marion, Polk, and Linn County and other surrounding communities. Contact us online or call 503-990-6641 to schedule a consultation.