The Amount of Support You Pay


Sometimes life events, such as being laid off or simply falling on hard times, can make paying the original amount of child support impossible. It is important to know that what you owe can be modified. The Oregon court system allows for modifications in child support based on a “change in circumstances”.   The following situations discuss changes most frequently considered:


Increase or decrease in paying parent’s income

A substantial increase in income usually justifies an upward modification of child support.  Conversely, a substantial decrease in income can justify a decrease in the amount of support paid.  Simply put, if you start making more money you may have to pay more child support.  If you are suddenly making less money, your child support can be reduced.


Increase or decrease in custodial parent’s income

If the custodial parent receives an increase in income, then the child support you pay can be reduced, except in the case that the increased wages merely meet the deficit between the paying parent’s income and the child’s needs.  However, a decrease in the custodial parent’s income may also justify a support increase.  It is important to use the Child Support Guideline to determine if your change in circumstances justifies a support modification, and by how much.


Voluntary reduction in income

If you have a decrease in income because of a job change, your child support order can be decreased only if the change was made in good faith.  If you quit your job or change careers in an effort to decrease or eliminate support payments, no modification will be allowed.


Change in child’s needs

A substantial change in the child’s needs may require a change in the amount of support provided.


Income from a “domestic associate” or new spouse

The loss or addition of income from the paying parent’s new spouse, live-in girlfriend or boyfriend, or roommate does not constitute a “material change in circumstances” because the new spouse does not have a legal obligation to support the children.  This is true for the custodial parent’s new spouse as well. While the new spouse does have an obligation as a stepparent to support the children, this duty does not replace the paying parent’s support obligation.


Needs of a Second Family

The needs of a second family typically do not constitute a change in circumstances sufficient to modify obligations to the first. Oregon law presumes that the paying parent has his or her first family in mind when he or she assumes the obligations of a second family.


Death of the Paying Parent

This automatically terminates child support requirements.


Parenting-Time Interference

Withholding child support payments is not an appropriate remedy for even serious interference with parenting time. Support is for the benefit of the child, not for the interfering parent.  However, if the other parent is interfering with your parenting time, there are numerous methods available to you to enforce your custody arrangement and parenting plan
Click here for more information on enforcement of custody orders.