Child Support in Oregon
Child support in Oregon can be established in two ways. Through the Circuit Court by filing a Petition to Establish Support (usually filed in conjunction with a Petition to establish custody and parenting time) or through the administrative process established by the State of Oregon, Child Support Division. The processes are quite different but the calculations are the same.
Please note that you cannot establish a support order unless paternity has been established for your child.
The Oregon Child Support Division will establish both paternity and child support for you for free. You need only apply for child support services here.
This process includes a petition to establish support, service of the other parent by the Division of Child Support, a calculation of support per the Oregon Child Support Guidelines and an administrative hearing by telephone if either parent disagrees with the calculation. There are pros and cons to using the administrative process as opposed to filing in circuit court. Consult with us about which route you should take before seeking to establish paternity and/or child support.
Please note that establishing child support does not establish an actual custody order or parenting time plan. These processes can only be done through the circuit court process.
Circuit Court Process
A parent can establish support through the courts by filing a Petition to Establish Child support. This is usually in conjunction with a Petition to Establish Legal Custody and Parenting time. Again, you cannot establish legal custody, parenting time or support until such time as paternity has been established. It is therefore important to know if a father has been established as a legal parent or include establishing paternity in the Petition. For most counties, once a petition is filed and served, the court will set certain hearings to determine temporary issues (if motioned to do so) and a final Judgment establishing custody, parenting time and support. The parties will be required to attend a Family Law Education Class and mediation to attempt to resolve custody and parenting time issues. Once the parties have a temporary or permanent parenting time plan, support can be calculated.
Oregon Child Support Calculator
Oregon uses a strict formula to set the amount of support to be paid from one parent to the other on behalf of a child. While the parties can certainly agree to pay more support or less support, if an agreement is not made, the court will rely on the support number provided by the Child Support Calculator.
The Oregon Child Support Calculator takes into account certain factors in calculating support. These include the following:
- The parties gross monthly income. Keep in mind that the definition of “income” is very broad and includes wages, tips, rental income and VA disability payments to name a few.
- The number of joint children.
- The number of non-joint children for each parent.
- Spousal support paid by a parent and received by the other parent.
- The number of overnights a child is in each parent’s home. This is usually determined by looking at the parties’ parenting time plan.
- Social Security and Veteran's benefits received for the benefit of joint children;
- Daycare costs paid by each parent.
- Health insurance costs paid by each parent for themselves and for the children.
Once these factors are inserted into the calculator, a child support number is provided that is presumed correct and generally ordered by the court. There are times that the presumed correct support amount can be modified either up or down if the parties come to an agreement on a particular support amount or there are exceptional circumstances such as a parent’s inability to pay or special needs of the child. Contact our office if you think a rebuttal may apply in your case.
The calculator can be found on the web at It may be helpful and informative to run the formula on your own to see the effects of changing the variables. We would, however, recommend that you consult with an attorney about the number you reached and whether you inputted the number correctly into the calculator.
Modification or Termination of Child Support
The court generally orders child support to be paid until the child's 18th birthday. Depending on particular circumstances, the court may extend support to age 21 if the child is attending school. It is possible for support for a child attending school to be paid directly to the child. Drafting of a child support judgment is important in making these determinations.
Child Support may be modified every three years or when there has been a substantial change in circumstances. Modification proceedings can be started by a parent filing a motion with the court or a request for modification through the Department of Child Support.
We’ve been writing child support judgments for over 20 years. Shelley is routinely asked by judges to draft the Judgment after a settlement is put on the record or a contested hearing has concluded. One of her greatest strengths is her writing skills and ability to write judgment language that is thorough, accurate, and favorable to her clients.