General Considerations

In General

Under Oregon law, both parents have a legal duty to financially support their children. This duty also extends to stepchildren until the divorce is final. The amount of support owed by each parent is calculated by a specific set of rules known as the “Child Support Guidelines”. This formula generally considers each parent’s monthly income and the amount of time they will be responsible for the child’s care – a factor measured by the number of times the child stays overnight with each parent. In unusual situations, the court will consider other factors in setting support, such as the special needs of the child or the limited resources of the parent.

Parents can also agree to an amount of child support that is different than what the guideline recommends. This can be incorporated into the judgment of dissolution and/or the parenting plan. Obtaining legal advice or having an attorney review private agreements is highly recommended to ensure that your rights as a parent are protected.

Domestic Partnerships

If you are in a domestic partnership that was registered with the state of Oregon in accordance with the Domestic Partnership Act, then a court will be authorized to award child support to one of the partners in that registered partnership. In order to determine the amount of child support that should be awarded, the Oregon Child Support Guidelines Calculator will be used. This holds true for partners who comply with Oregon’s adoption laws and artificial insemination laws as well. To find out how much child support could be awarded, click here.

The Adult Child 18-21 years of age

The court may provide for the support of a “child attending school” anytime during or after a divorce. To qualify, the child must be 18-21 years of age, unmarried, enrolled at least half-time at a school, community college, college, university, or regularly attending professional vocational or technical training, and must be making satisfactory progress as defined by the school. Child support payments are made directly from the paying parent to the child, and can be used as the child sees fit.

The refusal of the child between the ages of 18 and 21 to see the paying parent does not permit the court to modify or terminate the support order for lack of parenting time.

Emancipation and Child Support

Emancipation is a court decree recognizing that the minor is an adult and terminates the parent-child relationship until the child turns 18.

A person is deemed to have arrived at the age of majority when they reach the age of 18 or when they are married. However, a minor who is at least 16 years of age may apply to the court for a decree of emancipation. Because the emancipation decree terminates the parent-child relationship, it also terminates a paying parent’s obligation to pay child support even if the parents of the child are divorced.


A stepparent is responsible for the expenses of the family and the education of minor stepchildren as long as the stepparent is married to, and not legally separated from, the custodial parent. However, a person who is married to the non-custodial parent has no duty to support his or her spouse’s child by another marriage.
This duty to support stepchildren ceases when a divorce judgment is entered.

Tax Considerations

If a child receives over half of his or her support from his or her parents who are divorced, separated or living apart during the last six months of the year, then the parent with the greater portion of custody may take the federal income tax deduction for that child. This can be altered by a written agreement between the parents.

A childcare tax credit is also available to the custodial parent. The amount of expense that can be claimed is limited to $3,000 for one dependent and $6,000 for two or more. Depending on the person’s income, he or she can claim up to 30% of the allowable expenses.