Child Support Attorneys in Bend, Oregon
When two parents separate, they’ll have a number of important decisions and agreements to make regarding the care and support of their child. In many cases, these decisions can be made by the couple themselves. However, in cases where the partners cannot come to an agreement on some aspect of child custody or child support, then a judge may need to intervene to make a decision.
If you’re going through a transition like this in your life and would like to talk to a family law attorney about your situation, call us at the Haskett Williams Monaghan Attorneys at Law. We serve clients in Bend, Oregon, and throughout the surrounding communities of Redmond, Sun River, Prineville, and Sisters.
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What Is Child Support?
Going through a divorce or separation from a partner is hard enough on its own, but when the couple shares joint children there’s an added layer of stress and responsibility factored in. And, once the couple decides how they will share custody and allow for visitation time from the non-custodial parent, they’ll have to come to an agreement about how much child support will be paid.
Unsurprisingly, most people are unfamiliar with this process and have basic questions such as, “Am I responsible for paying child support?” or “How is child support calculated?” A lot of this information can be found online through the county courthouse’s website, but even then it can be hard to know exactly how all these rules will apply to you. This is why many people choose to meet with a child support lawyer so they can fully understand their rights and responsibilities as a new co-parent.
Understanding Child Support in Oregon
In Oregon, as is true in all states, both parents are legally responsible for the physical, emotional, and financial support of their children and this holds whether or not the two parents are married. If there’s an official custody agreement that’s been filed with courts and one partner is the “custodial” parent while the other is the “non-custodial” parent, it’s typically the responsibility of the non-custodial parent to pay monthly child support to the other. Per state law, this support should continue until the child is at least 18, but can go up to the age of 21 if they’re attending school. Child support can also include providing health insurance coverage or cash medical support payments.
Oregon uses a formula for calculating how much support should be and they provide an online calculator for families to estimate this amount. Essentially, both parents’ incomes are computed along with any prior financial obligations like spousal support that’s either owed or they owe to someone else. The formula also accounts for any non-joint children each parent supports as well as money they spend on health insurance. Lastly, the formula adds in how many overnights each parent has with the child(ren). They then use these amounts to determine how much each parent is able to contribute compared with how much total support the child needs and how much time the child spends with each parent.
If one parent attempts to cheat the system by quitting a job so they show no income or deliberately taking a lower paying job so they aren’t obligated to pay as much, the court can intervene by using something called “potential income.” In these cases, a judge will assign an income at an amount the parent could be earning and use this to calculate support.
Modifying an Existing Arrangement
Any child support modification must be filed and approved by the court. That said, if both parents agree on a new support amount and the needs of the child are still able to be met, a judge will generally approve it.
If one parent wants a modification but the other disagrees, they will have to file a petition with the court providing evidence of a “substantial and unanticipated change of economic circumstances” that necessitates a modified support order. This could be that one parent lost their job, has remarried, had another child, has moved out of the country, or that the needs of the child have changed (for example they may now need specialized schooling or medical care).
Termination of Child Support
If you’re seeking termination of child support before the child’s 18th birthday, this too must be done through the courts. Like with a modification, you will have to provide substantial evidence that the support is no longer necessary to meet the needs of the child.
However, being granted termination is a much more difficult process since the judge will always prioritize the needs of the child above all else and it’s usually only granted in certain cases. For instance, termination may be approved if one partner’s parental rights have been terminated (ex. the child was adopted by a stepparent), or if the parent who currently provides support somehow becomes incapacitated and unable to earn enough in income.
Child Support Attorneys in Bend, Oregon
If you’re in the Bend, Oregon region and want to know more about establishing child support, modifying an existing order, or terminating an existing order, our attorneys can help. Reach out to us at the Haskett Williams Monaghan Attorneys at Law for trusted legal guidance.