Part 4: Divorce and Children
Understand How Children Will Impact Your Divorce Proceeding
OREGON CHILD SUPPORT AND OREGON CHILD CUSTODY LAWS
If you and your spouse have children, your divorce will likely involve
many complicated legal and emotional issues. If you are interested in
custody (sole or joint), you need to speak with a family law attorney
immediately. If you are not interested in custody, you are still responsible
for your children’s welfare and need to discuss with your Oregon
family law attorney how you will continue to support them.
During the divorce process, it is important that you consider the impact
of your every action on your children, their emotional state, and their
routines. Maintain as much stability and consistency as possible in their
lives. You should also resist any temptation you may feel to disparage
your spouse to your children, to discuss the details of the divorce, or
give them the reasons for the divorce. Tell them only that they did not
cause the divorce and that both of their parents love them and will continue
in their lives.
Parent Education Classes
If you have minor children with your spouse, the Oregon family law court
will require both of you to attend a mandatory parenting class before
you can be divorced. Your children do not attend, and you may attend a
separate class from your spouse. The classes are group lectures that inform
parents about the impact of family restructuring on children in divorce
and custody cases. There is a small charge for the classes.
The classes usually cover:
- Children’s developmental stages
- The emotional impact of a divorce or separation on children
- The effect on children of parental conduct
- Strategies for better co-parenting during and after a divorce or separation
- Custody, parenting time and shared parenting plans
- Mediation and conflict resolution
Oregon Child Custody Laws
WHAT IS CUSTODY?
Oregon child custody laws involves three different aspects, each of which
the court will decide in your divorce:
- LEGAL CUSTODY determines who makes major decisions for the children.
- PARENTING TIME (previously called “visitation”) determines
how much time the children spend with each parent.
- PARENTING PLAN terms and conditions govern the particulars about how parenting
time with each parent be exercised and how the parents are to behave with
each other and with the children.
Oregon child custody laws define “legal custody” as the decision-making
ability of the parents in the lives of the children. This can be sole
or joint/shared. A parent with sole legal custody is solely responsible
for deciding major medical decisions for the children, where the children
will attend school, whether and where they will attend church, etc. Parents
with joint legal custody in Oregon must agree on these matters. A parent
who does not have legal custody may still make everyday decisions (such
as sports activities and minor medical decisions) for their children while
the children are with that parent.
PARENTING TIME (A.K.A. “VISITATION”)
Parenting time (previously called “visitation”) is the right
of one parent to spend time with the children, especially if that parent
does not have legal custody of the children. If one parent is awarded
sole legal custody, then the other parent is usually entitled to “reasonable
parenting time” under Oregon child custody laws. Oregon law allows
for any parenting time arrangement that meets the children’s needs
to be ordered.
HOW DOES THE OREGON FAMILY LAW COURT DETERMINE CUSTODY?
Oregon child custody laws are intended to determine what is in the best
interests of the children. Your minor children will likely have frequent
and continuing contact with both parents, so long as each parent will
act in the best interests of the children.
However, the court will not order joint legal custody unless you and your
spouse agree to jointly share that responsibility. The court will not
order joint legal custody unless both parents agree to that arrangement.
If the two of you don’t agree to joint legal custody, then Oregon
law requires that one parent have sole legal custody and that the other
parent have a right to reasonable parenting time (visitation).
Custody in Oregon is determined using the following factors:
- Your children’s emotional ties to you, your spouse and other family
members living in or near your homes;
- You and your spouse’s attitudes toward your children;
- Your children’s existing relationships with you and your spouse;
- Any abuse of one parent by the other;
- A preference for awarding custody to your children’s primary caregiver,
as long as that person is a fit parent; and
- The willingness and ability of each parent to encourage your children’s
close and continuing relationship with the other parent.
The court usually does not consider:
- Your income (or that of your spouse);
- Your conduct that does not directly impact the children (such as behavior
that led to the divorce);
- Whether either of you have remarried; and
- Your lifestyle.
The Oregon family law court will consider these last factors only if they
can cause emotional or physical damage to your children. For instance,
one Oregon family law court decision held that a parent could not have
custody if he/she was a current illegal drug user, but that his/her past
drug use was irrelevant to custody.
DO COURTS PREFER MOTHERS TO HAVE CUSTODY?
Courts deciding custody are not to give any preference to a parent because
of her/his sex. This last sentence bears repeating, because there is so
much popular misinformation about divorce. Oregon custody laws specifically
state that divorce courts not give preference to either parent on the
basis of that parent’s sex. However, as discussed below, custody
is most commonly awarded to the children’s primary caregiver, who
is often the mother.
DOES IT MATTER WHO DOES THE MOST PARENTING WHILE WE ARE SEPARATED?
Yes. While the factors listed above (see “How does the court determine
custody?”) may appear helpful, in actual practice it is very difficult
for judges to fully evaluate a family’s complex relationships in
order to decide child custody. Often in disputed custody cases, the Oregon
family law court will award legal custody to the parent who has served
as the child’s primary caregiver (the parent with the most overnight
parenting time) after separation. Getting advice from a lawyer early in
the process, before you change your or your children’s living situation,
can be crucial in maintaining future relationships with your children.
ARE SIBLINGS ALWAYS KEPT TOGETHER?
Again, the standard for custody is the “best interest of the child,”
and often keeping siblings (or half-siblings) together serves the best
interests of children. But there have been cases where the courts find
siblings will do better separated.
CAN WE AGREE ON CUSTODY?
Rather than the Oregon family law court deciding custody, spouses, along
with assistance from their family law attorney, may work out a custody
agreement. There is always a risk with a court decision, whereas a settlement,
although a compromise, is a known quantity. Most Oregon courts require
mediation of custody disputes to encourage parties to resolve disputes
early in litigation.
In many cases, especially where both parents have helped care for the children
and there is no abuse or current drug use, but the parents cannot effectively
co-parent, it may not be clear how a divorce court will decide the issue
of custody. A custody evaluator’s opinion, in addition to your lawyer’s
past experience, may help you understand what the courts would likely
decide and help you work out the best custody arrangement for your children.
CAN MY CHILD DECIDE CUSTODY?
Oregon child custody laws state that there is no age at which a minor child
can decide their own custody and parenting time. Your child’s opinion
may be considered in some cases, depending on the age and maturity of
the child. The court may also appoint a separate Oregon family law attorney
to represent your child and advocate for him/her. Most Oregon judges discourage
either parent from attempting to have the children testify in Court.
Custody Evaluations In Oregon
The Oregon family law court may appoint (or you and your spouse may jointly
hire) a professional child custody evaluator to assist in the custody decision.
WHAT DOES THE CUSTODY EVALUATOR DO?
In Oregon, a custody evaluator is usually a licensed psychologist or clinical
social worker. The evaluator interviews your children, and may conduct
home visits so that the evaluator can also review the children’s
living areas. The evaluator interviews you and your spouse as well as
your children’s teachers, doctors and family friends suggested by
both parents, to determine which parent should have legal custody of the children.
This recommendation isn’t a determination of parental fitness or
a competition between homes for the children. Rather, the evaluator attempts
to assist the judge (who cannot spend hours with the family) by recommending
the best situation for your children: which parent should have legal custody
to make the decisions that the parents cannot agree on (such as school
location), and what parenting time arrangement would be best for your children.
WHO PAYS THE CUSTODY EVALUATOR?
You or your spouse, or both of you, must pay the evaluator. But even if
only one person pays the evaluator’s fee, the evaluator is neutral,
rather than representing just one spouse the way that an attorney does.
CAN MY OREGON FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY HELP ME WITH THE EVALUATION?
An experienced Oregon family law attorney may be able to assist you in
finding a capable, experienced evaluator for your case and help you prepare
for your interview with the evaluator.
WHAT SHOULD I TELL THE EVALUATOR?
If a custody evaluator is appointed in your case, be sure to fully cooperate
with the evaluator. Return phone calls, attend all scheduled appointments,
and provide any documents or forms the evaluator needs. Treat the evaluator
with professionalism and respect — remember that the evaluator is
a neutral party, not your therapist, lawyer or advocate.
The evaluator is interested only in the custody and parenting plan issues
of your divorce. Present relevant information to the evaluator in a calm,
factual manner. You may tell the evaluator the facts about parenting issues
that have occurred. However, be careful not to overly “bad-mouth”
your spouse. An evaluator may recommend that your spouse have legal custody
if you don’t seem willing to facilitate a continuing relationship
between your children and the other parent.
DOES THE COURT ALWAYS AGREE WITH THE CUSTODY EVALUATOR?
The Oregon court is not required to accept the evaluator’s recommendations,
as they are only advisory. However, most judges give significant consideration
to the evaluator’s report along with the Oregon child custody laws
when they make decisions about custody and parenting plan issues, along
with other evidence.
Your divorce will include a parenting plan. You may have a “general”
or “detailed” parenting plan.
WHAT IS IN A GENERAL PARENTING PLAN IN OREGON?
A general parenting plan describes the minimum amount of parenting time
and access that the non-custodial parent will have, and how you both will
share parenting responsibilities. For instance, it may state that the
children will primarily live with you and that they will spend a certain
number of overnights per month with your spouse.
Under a general parenting plan in Oregon, you and your spouse will have
to work out the details of parenting (such as exactly which nights the
children will stay with which parent) afterwards, informally. You should
use a general parenting plan only if you expect to be able to co-parent
and negotiate comfortably with your former spouse for many years to come.
It is difficult to go back to court to enforce the informal details of
a general parenting plan, because the court order itself is phrased broadly
WHAT IS IN A DETAILED PARENTING PLAN IN OREGON?
Detailed parenting plans describe your children’s residential schedule
(including weekends, holidays, birthdays and vacations) in more detail.
In Oregon, detailed parenting plans may also include provisions for decision-making
and responsibility, information sharing and access, relocation of parents,
telephone access, transportation between homes, and methods for resolving disputes.
If you and your spouse are unable to agree upon a parenting plan, the Oregon
family law court will develop a detailed parenting plan for you. Even
if you are able to agree now, your Oregon family law attorney will usually
advise that a detailed parenting plan is often the best approach, because:
- It can address potential changes in your situations, such as relocation
or the impact of future partners.
- It will be in place in case of increased acrimony between you and your
spouse. You can refer to the detailed parenting plan instead of having
difficult negotiations about how to interpret a general plan’s promise
of “reasonable” parenting time.
- It can save you money and time. You probably won’t have to go back
to court to make changes later.
- It makes it easier to schedule family holidays, vacations and children’s
activities. Because your parenting plan will specify when your children
are with you, you won’t need to negotiate every date with your former spouse.
IS THERE A STANDARD PARENTING PLAN IN OREGON?
Most counties in Oregon no longer use standard parenting plans. In most
counties in Oregon, the judge must craft a parenting plan that works best
for the children based on the facts of the case. Oregon courts do recognize
some guidelines for parenting plans for children that are very young (under
the age of 3).
The Oregon family law court is likely to approve any parenting plan that
is agreed upon by both you and your spouse.
WHAT ELSE CAN I PUT IN A PARENTING PLAN?
Oregon child custody laws do not limit the information you can include
in your detailed parenting plan, so many parents include provisions such as:
- The agreed method of disciplining the children;
- A prohibition on unrelated adult guests staying overnight while the children
are present, so that your children aren’t aware of a parent having
- A “right of first refusal” regarding childcare, so each of
you have additional opportunities to be with your children if a babysitter
would otherwise be caring for them; and
- A prohibition on making derogatory comments about the other parent.
Such provisions may be difficult for the court to later enforce, but parents
who agree together on such provisions may be more likely to follow them.
Speak to your Oregon family law attorney about what level of detail you
should have in your parenting plan.
PARENTING PLAN MODIFICATIONS: CAN A PARENTING PLAN BE CHANGED LATER?
In Oregon, once parenting plans are signed by the court, they may be modified
in the future. You and your Oregon family law attorney should consider
provisions in your plan for possible future events, such as remarriage,
relocation, and the child’s later preferences about where to live.
It may be especially useful to cover smaller changes, such as at what point
tardiness for parenting time cancels such time, when a parent must inform
the other parent of selected vacations, and whether there will be make-up
parenting time. If you find that you really want to change the parenting
plan, an Oregon family law attorney with experience in parenting plan
modifications can advise you on whether you have a case for modifying the plan.
DO PARENTING PLANS ALLOW PARENTAL RELOCATION?
Oregon parenting plans ordinarily prohibit you from moving more than 60
miles away from your spouse without giving the court and your spouse reasonable
notice of your move. Post-divorce relocation is a separate and complicated
issue (discussed in more detail in Part 7 of this guide).
WHAT IF THERE IS ABUSE?
If there are safety or abuse issues in your marriage or with your children,
you may wish to consider a safety-focused parenting plan. In Oregon, you
have three main options.
- First, if you feel your child cannot be safe alone with your spouse, then
your plan might include supervised parenting time or even no parenting
time. In order to require that your spouse have only supervised time,
you must show that there is a clear danger to your child. In practice,
this is often difficult to prove unless there is clear evidence (such
as police or doctors’ reports) of child abuse.
- A second option, if you feel that your child can safely spend limited time
with the other parent under certain conditions, is for no overnight parenting time.
- A third option protects you rather than your child. If you feel your child
can safely spend time with the other parent, but you are not safe when
the other parent is with you, then your plan might allow overnight parenting
time but require drop off and pick up to take place in a public place
(even a police station) rather than at your homes. You may also need a
restraining order against your spouse.
In addition to the parenting time and decision-making provisions detailed
in your parenting plan, both parents always (unless ordered by the court)
have certain rights in Oregon:
- To inspect and receive school records and to consult with school staff
concerning your child’s welfare and education;
- To inspect and receive governmental agency and law enforcement records
concerning your child;
- To consult with any person who may provide care or treatment for your child
and to inspect and receive your child’s medical, dental and psychological records;
- To authorize emergency medical, dental, psychological, psychiatric or other
health care for your child if the custodial parent is, for practical purposes,
- To apply to be your child’s conservator, guardian ad litem, or both.
In practice, enforcing these listed rights requires only that you ask for
this information. At your child’s school, ask when parent-teacher
conferences are scheduled and ask that your child be assigned two conferences
(one for each parent). Ask your child’s teacher to set up a second
cubby or folder with second copies of report cards and school flyers for
you. Call your child’s doctor and ask for a copy of his or her medical chart.
Note that parents who are involved in family counseling with their children,
or whose children are in counseling themselves, may need legal advice
regarding the ability of the other parent to obtain treatment notes and
other records from the counselor.
The Oregon child custody laws allow both parents to access this information
from third parties (like doctors and schools). The law does not require
one parent to provide the information to the other parent. However, one
parent’s unreasonable refusal to provide such information could
be punishable by the court, depending on the circumstances.
Both parents, regardless of custody, also have certain responsibilities
to the other parent after divorce according to Oregon child custody laws.
You must both provide current addresses and contact telephone numbers
to each other. You must also immediately notify the other parent of any
emergency circumstances or substantial changes in the health of your children.
Termination Of Parental Rights In Oregon
CAN A COURT TERMINATE SOMEONE’S PARENTAL RIGHTS IN OREGON?
Parental rights are strongly favored in Oregon. It is very difficult to
terminate a person’s parental rights, and almost all divorcing parents
have the right to a relationship with their children after divorce. However,
a person’s parental rights may be terminated in Oregon if the court
finds it in the child’s best interest because of that parent’s
abuse or neglect of the child. (A felony conviction, incarceration, or
failure to establish paternity is not a reason for termination of rights
CAN SOMEONE GIVE UP PARENTAL RIGHTS IN OREGON?
In Oregon, a person cannot voluntarily give up parental rights, except
where another adult (often a stepparent) adopts the child. Relinquishment
of parental rights and adoption are complex matters that have their own
legal processes, separate from your divorce case. If you have questions
about this issue, discuss them immediately with your Oregon family law attorney.
HOW DOES TERMINATION OF RIGHTS AFFECT CHILD SUPPORT IN OREGON?
Termination of parental rights ends any future obligation for child support.
Termination sometimes also ends any obligation for past-due child support,
if the court agrees to such an arrangement.
Grandparent Rights In Oregon
CAN NON-PARENTS GET VISITATION IN OREGON?
In addition to you and your spouse, grandparents and other people with
strong emotional ties to your children may have visitation.
According to Oregon child custody laws, non-parents can obtain visitation
in two ways:
INFORMAL VISITATION: Non-parents can visit informally with your children during either parent’s
parenting time, if that parent agrees, and so long as there is no court
order prohibiting it. For instance, you may have your parents visit or
even regularly provide childcare during your parenting time with your
children, even if you are not there, and even if your spouse disagrees
(unless your parenting plan requires specific other childcare providers).
COURT-ORDERED VISITATION: In rare cases, non-parents can obtain a court order from the Oregon family
law court providing them specific visitation times. They must obtain a
court order to visit if both parents object to the visits. However, there
is a very high standard to meet to be allowed visitation. The grandparent
(or other person wanting visitation) must show the court that he/she had
an ongoing significant relationship with the subject child for at least
a year. If the court finds that there is such an ongoing personal relationship
and that future contact is in your child’s best interest, then the
court may order reasonable visitation. The details of visitation will
depend upon the circumstances of your case.
CAN NON-PARENTS GET CUSTODY IN OREGON?
In rare cases, yes. The non-parent must show a “child-parent relationship”
existing in whole or in part within six months before the action was filed.
Additionally, the Oregon family law court must find a compelling reason
to award custody to the non-legal parent.
A compelling reason means that the child will be unduly harmed, physically
or psychologically, by giving custody to the natural parent. Oregon child
custody laws provide that natural parents always have the right to custody
of their children, unless there is a compelling reason for non-parent
custody. An Oregon child custody dispute involving a non-parent is different
from a child custody dispute between parents because the “best interests
of the child” standard (that applies to child custody disputes between
parents) does not apply.
Non-parent visitation or child custody disputes can be emotionally and
legally challenging, with repercussions into your extended family and
community. Whenever possible, you should obtain advice from an Oregon
family law attorney experienced in non-parental custody disputes.
Stepparent Rights And Responsibilities In Oregon
If you have legally adopted your stepchild, then in Oregon you have the
same parental rights and responsibilities as the natural parents, including
a right to custody and child support if eligible.
If you have not legally adopted your stepchild, then your parental rights
and responsibilities will probably change with divorce. Any financial
obligation you have to your stepchildren ends when the Oregon family law
court enters your divorce judgment. A non-adoptive stepparent may also
seek visitation and child custody and should seek the help of an Oregon
family law attorney with experience in cases involving stepparent issues.
Oregon Child Support
If you and your spouse have minor children, then your divorce will need
to address child support. Determining Oregon child support may be complicated.
Future contingencies can drastically affect your children’s support
needs. The total amount of child support to be paid can be considerable
and collection of support can be frustrating. To ensure the proper level
of child support is provided for your children now and over time, legal
advice on child support is strongly recommended from a qualified Oregon
family law attorney.
WHICH CHILDREN RECEIVE CHILD SUPPORT?
All children under age 18 may be entitled to Oregon child support unless
they are married, emancipated, or have become self supporting. Additionally,
children over 18 and under age 21 may be entitled to child support if
they are attending school half-time or more.
WHO PAYS CHILD SUPPORT IN OREGON?
In Oregon, either parent may be ordered to pay child support.
CAN WE AGREE ON NO, OR LITTLE, CHILD SUPPORT?
Maybe. The court’s interest is to ensure that there is adequate parental
money to support the child. The Oregon child support guidelines calculates
child support amounts based on parental income levels. If the parents
agree on a child support amount that is different from the Oregon child
support guidelines, but which is still adequate to support the child,
then the court usually will order that agreed child support amount.
If the custodial parent’s household income is high enough to fully
support a child, then the court may allow that parent to completely waive
support for that child. However, the Oregon family law court is
not bound to an agreement of the parents. Even if you and your spouse agree
to a child support amount, the court can order a different amount instead,
usually determined from the Oregon child support guidelines.
HOW DOES A COURT DETERMINE OREGON CHILD SUPPORT?
Oregon child support is determined by the court based on consideration
of all income of each parent, including income from employment, self-employment
and rental properties. If a parent is not employed on a full-time basis,
the Oregon family law court may consider the earnings history and potential
of said parent.
Many times parents agree on the child support factors (for instance, income
figures) and the court will simply enter these numbers into the Oregon
child support calculator to determine child support. The overnights each
parent has with the children are also factored into the Oregon child support
calculator. Also, the costs of health care insurance (for the parents
and for the children) and childcare costs affect the amount of Oregon
child support ordered. Some cases involve the application of rebuttal factors.
These other reasons for departing from the Oregon child support guidelines
- Evidence of a parent’s other available resources;
- The net income of a parent;
- The special hardships of a parent;
- The special needs of the child;
- The desirability of the custodial parent remaining in the home as a full-time
parent and homemaker;
- Tax consequences;
- The income of a spouse or domestic partner;
- Evidence that a child who is subject to the support order is not living
with either parent (and is not attending college); and
- The return of capital.
For couples with high net worth, it is crucial that your Oregon family
law attorney also has relationships with accountants and tax professionals
to analyze the family assets and calculate Oregon child support appropriate
for your situation.
WHAT IF ONE PARENT IS UNEMPLOYED, EMPLOYED ONLY PART-TIME, OR UNDEREMPLOYED?
If one parent is unemployed or employed less than full-time, Oregon courts
then look at “imputed” or “potential” income for
that parent, unless they can prove that there is good cause for the underemployment.
Good cause might be a shortage of jobs in the parent’s field or
if they are going to school. If there is no good cause, the court determines
the underemployed parent’s imputed income by calculating either
(1) probable earnings based upon the parent’s recent work history,
occupational qualifications, prevailing job opportunities and earning
levels in the community; or (2) income from full-time work (40 hours per
week) at the current Oregon minimum wage. The larger number is that parent’s
IS CHILD SUPPORT TIED TO PARENTING TIME?
If ordered to pay Oregon child support, a parent is legally obligated to
make those payments,
even if the parent does not receive parenting time with the child. Parenting time and receipt of child support are considered separate rights
by the Oregon family law court. Thus, one parent cannot withhold child
support because of missed parenting time, and a parent may not deny the
other parent parenting time because of missed child support.
HOW IS OREGON CHILD SUPPORT PAID?
Oregon child support payments are made monthly. The parent paying child
support may pay the amount directly to the other parent, or may be required
to pay the Oregon Child Support Program (which will then pass on the payments
to the receiving parent, often by direct deposit).
WHAT IF A PARENT OWES BACK CHILD SUPPORT?
If a parent fails to pay Oregon child support, the other parent may go
back to the Oregon family law court or request assistance from the Oregon
Department of Justice’s Child Support Program to collect the support.
Collection steps may include wage garnishment, bank account garnishment,
seizure of retirement plan funds, liens on property, seizure of tax refunds,
revocation of passports, suspension of drivers’ or business licenses
or even jail time.
CAN OREGON CHILD SUPPORT ORDERS BE CHANGED?
Yes. The Oregon child support order and amount can be adjusted in future
years based on changes in each parent’s income, changes in the parenting
plan as well as changes relating to the needs of the child.
WHEN DOES CHILD SUPPORT END?
Oregon law generally provides that child support will continue for each
of your children until that child turns 18 years old and thereafter until
21 years old if said child is attending school half-time or more. Different
provisions may apply if a child is significantly disabled.
Oregon Child Support Provision: Life Insurance
The Oregon family law court will probably require that the parent required
to pay child support also maintain life insurance coverage with the child
as beneficiary, the other parent as trustee, and a constructive trust
over the insurance proceeds. The purpose of life insurance here is to
protect the child’s right to monetary support: if the paying parent
dies, then the child will have about the equivalent amount available as
an insurance payout.
However, life insurance provisions can have future complications. Parents
who pay Oregon child support may be angry at the idea that their former
spouse will receive a large sum of money at the time of their death. You
should discuss with your divorce attorney how to best create a life insurance
provision for your case.
Oregon Child Support Provision: Health Insurance And Health Care Costs
Your Oregon child support order will also contain provisions regarding
health care insurance for your children and payment of any uninsured health
care costs. If you or your spouse can provide medical and dental insurance
for your children privately, through a public program, or through an employer,
you may be required to do so. If neither of you has access to health insurance
for your children, then the court may order a certain monthly or percentage
amount of cash medical support.
Cash medical support is the additional amount a parent is ordered to pay
to help with the cost of health care coverage by the other parent or to
help with the uninsured medical expenses of the child. Even if you have
health insurance for your children, the court may order cash medical support
for uninsured expenses. This is often framed as a percentage and may be
based on the parties’ comparative gross incomes. For instance, if
the parent ordered to pay child support earns about 80% of the parties’
joint earnings, then that parent may also be ordered to pay 80% of any
uninsured medical expenses for the children.
It may be difficult to have an Oregon court enforce payment of uninsured
health care expenses after they are paid, and it may be difficult for
some parents to communicate with each other about these expenses as they
arise. Therefore, sometimes parents will make arrangements for a periodic
accounting of these expenses, possibly through their family law attorneys.
Oregon Child Support Provision: Childcare Costs
As with health care expenses, your Oregon child support order will also
consider payment of any childcare related to the custodial parent’s
job, active job search or job training and education. This is often framed
as a percentage based on the parties’ comparative gross incomes.
Oregon Child Support Provision: College Costs
CAN MY COLLEGE-AGED CHILD GET CHILD SUPPORT?
Unless your Oregon child support order says otherwise, child support will
continue for each of your children until that child turns 21 years old,
if the child is attending school half-time or more.
There are some restrictions:
- The child must be unmarried,
- The child must be enrolled in college or a professional or technical training
program designed to fit them for gainful employment,
- The child must be making satisfactory academic progress as defined by the
- The child may be required to provide her parents copies of her grades and
course enrollment records, and
- The child support payments must go directly to the child unless good cause
is found for distributing them in some other way.
CAN MY CHILD GET OTHER COLLEGE SUPPORT?
In addition to child support, your Oregon divorce decree may include a
provision for payment of post-secondary (college) expenses. This may include
only direct educational expenses, such as tuition and books, or it may
also cover rent and a monthly cash allowance.
ARE THERE LIMITATIONS TO COLLEGE SUPPORT?
If you and your spouse are able to agree on a provision regarding college
costs, then you may be able to include many restrictions or requirements
that a court-created Oregon child support order would not usually include.
For instance, your agreement could include a maximum degree cost, semester
expense accounting by your child, indexing the support amount to costs
at your child’s state college, or requirement of payment through
a Section 529 prepaid tuition plan.
DO COLLEGES CONSIDER BOTH PARENTS’ INCOME WHEN AWARDING FINANCIAL AID?
After separation or divorce, the custodial parent is responsible for filling
out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). (Read the FAFSA
instructions carefully, as they may define “custodial parent”
differently than your divorce judgment.) The custodial parent must list
any child support and/or spousal support received from the non-custodial
parent on the FAFSA. The FAFSA does not otherwise consider the income
and assets of the non-custodial parent. However, some private colleges
do consider the non-custodial parent’s income and assets when determining
Read More: Division of Property, Assets, and Debts in an Oregon Divorce