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The Most Important Factors for Determining Child Support Payments

If you’re separating from your partner or spouse and you have children together, the conversation of child support will likely enter the picture, especially if you’re involving attorneys and the court in the matter. Child support is a form of payment from one parent to the other to help counter the expenses incurred in raising the shared child. It’s a court-ordered payment to help ensure that the financial burdens of raising a kid does not fall on a single parent.

While the concept of child support is widely understood, the process for determining the amount of payment due is often foreign to parents who have never navigated a family law matter. Below is some information regarding factors that will be considered when calculating child support payments:

Under Oregon law, both parents have a legal responsibility to financially support their child. But how does the court determine the exact amount that should be paid? They utilize a specific set of rules which is known as the Oregon Child Support Guidelines. These guidelines use a fairly straight forward formula, which include the following considerations:

  • The gross income of both parents is taken into consideration. In order to determine the full scope of an individual’s income, the court will look at all earnings, income, and resources of that party—so, for example, this would include salary, wages, commissions, bonuses, dividends, Social Security, unemployment benefits, worker’s compensations, and any other form of personal income to an individual.
    • The guidelines do operate under the assumption that both parties are capable of working 40 hours a week at minimum wage. Exemptions to this assumption might include disability, receiving workers’ compensation benefits, or serving time in jail.
    • As a general rule of thumb, it’s common for the party with the greater income to be responsible for a greater portion of the financial burden to support children. However, this does not necessarily mean that they will pay the other parent child support.

  • Additionally, the guidelines will consider the amount of time each parent will be caring for the child—a factor measured in part by the number of overnight stays with each parent.
    • Oftentimes, the party with more overnights with the child will receive child support from the other party, however, that is not guaranteed nor necessarily always the case.
    • Even if the parents share joint legal custody and 50/50 parenting time, child support is still typically payable if the parents have different incomes.

  • Other factors will be considered in the formula, such as additional children the parent may be supporting, health insurance costs, and any work-related childcare expenses.

The amount of child support calculated is presumed to be fair and equitable by the court. However, it is possible for the amount of child support ordered to differ from the calculation IF either of the parents is able to create a rebuttal as to why the child support calculator is not fair and equitable under the circumstances. In order to do this, the party would have to present a finding that the guideline amount is unjust or inappropriate, which may be supported by a calculation.

If you would like to learn more about how our firm can help you with your child support case, give us a call at (503) 227-0200 to set up your free consultation today.