What Is Child Support?
Child support is an ongoing obligation for one parent to pay the other for support and maintenance of their child or children. A parent’s obligation to pay child support generally ends when a child turns 18 years old, or reaches age 21 if the child is attending school or vocational training.
The amount of child support is determined pursuant to statutes and administrative rules, which mandate the use of a formula to determine the amount of child support. The main factors in determining what is called “guideline support” include each parent’s gross income, including spousal support, work-related daycare expenses, the cost of health insurance, the number of overnights each parent has with the child, and whether either parent has children from a prior relationship. In some cases, other factors are considered, such as recurring health care costs a child has. Further, a child who is age 18 and is attending school may be entitled to receive child support from each parent.
Calculating Child Support
To calculate child support, attorneys generally use the Oregon Child Support Guideline calculator. If you want to see and experiment with the calculator, you may click on this link: http://dcs.state.or.us/calculator/
Sometimes, parents agree to pay less or more than guideline support, depending on the needs of the child. As an example, if the parents believe that it is in their child’s best interests to attend private school, they often agree to something less than guideline child support to take into account the cost of the private school. Sometimes, courts order parents to pay less or more than the guideline support amount, as well. As an example, if one parent has to move for a job, and there are substantial costs of travel associated with parenting time, the court can take that into consideration in setting child support.
Other Child Support Issues
In addition to child support, each parent is required to pay a certain amount of a child’s uninsured health care expenses. The parent who has the most time with the child is usually responsible for paying the first $250 per year for the child’s uninsured health care expenses. After that, the parents will typically be required to divide further costs.
The parent who is paying child support is also generally required to have insurance on his or her life so that, in the event of the death of that parent, the child’s needs can be met. Further, guideline support presumes that the recipient of support is awarded the income tax deductions for the child or children for whom support is ordered.
In each case, there may be unique issues that impact the amount of child support. We will work with you to understand the child support process, and to achieve a fair result.