How to Calculate Child Support Payments in Oregon

Learn how to calculate child support in Oregon, when the amount of support may be different than the standard calculation, and how to apply for, collect, and modify child support.

By , Legal Editor

To calculate the amount of support under Oregon's current child support guidelines, you can use the official Oregon Child Support Guidelines Calculator.

You'll need to have some basic information on hand before doing the calculations. First of all, you'll have to know what your physical custody (parenting time) arrangements will be, including the average number of overnights that the children will spend with each parent in a year. The state's Parenting Time Calculator can help you figure out this number, based on your parenting schedule. If you're still negotiating custody, you might try multiple calculations under different scenarios.

You'll also need to gather information about your finances, including both parents' income, the amount of spousal support (alimony) that each parent owes or is owed, and your expenses for health insurance coverage and work-related child care.

The state's Child Support Guidelines and Calculations page includes links to instructions for the calculator, as well as the full text of the guideline rules, worksheets and instructions (in both English and Spanish), and other forms and information.

When Child Support May Be Different Than the Guideline Calculation

Oregon presumes that the amount calculated under the guidelines is appropriate, but you may argue for a different amount. Whether you and the child's other parent have agreed on a support amount that departs from the guideline or a judge decides for you, the judge will have to find that using the amount calculated under the guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate under the specific circumstances in your case. The guideline rules list some of the reasons a judge may come to that conclusion. (Or. Admin. Rules, rule 137-050-0760 (2024).)

If you're claiming that the guideline amount would be inappropriate or unjust in your case, you can use the Child Support Rebuttal Worksheet to support your argument.

How to Apply for Child Support in Oregon

Typically, you'll apply for child support as part of the process of filing for divorce in Oregon. You'll include your completed child support worksheets along with the other divorce papers.

Outside of the divorce context, you may get help with requesting support by enrolling for child support services with the Oregon Child Support Program (CSP). If needed, the CSP may also help with establishing the child's legal paternity and locating an absent parent.

How to Collect Child Support in Oregon

All child support payments go through the Oregon CSP before being forwarded to the recipient parent. Most parents pay child support through income withholding. That way, the support payments are automatically taken out of the parent's paycheck. When there's an exception to income withholding (such as for those who are self-employed), there are alternative ways to pay child support, including online or with a credit or debit card.

If you're having trouble collecting support payments, the CSE can help. Depending on how much the other parent owes, the agency has several methods for enforcing child support orders, including:

  • reporting the debt to credit bureaus
  • intercepting income tax refunds and other federal payments to the delinquent parent
  • seizing money from bank accounts
  • placing liens on property (so the delinquent parent can't sell it or borrow money on the assets before paying off the debt)
  • suspending the delinquent parent's driver's or other licenses, and
  • pursuing a court action to have the delinquent parent found in contempt of court (which could lead to fines or even jail time).

You also have the option of filing a motion directly in court to have the delinquent parent found in contempt. But without the CSE's assistance, you should speak with a family lawyer who can help you navigate the legal contempt process.

How to Change the Amount of Child Support

Either parent may request a modification in the amount of child support they're currently paying or receiving. The rules for requesting a review and modification with the Oregon CSE depend on how long it's been since your existing order was issued or last reviewed. If it's been less than 35 months, you'll need to prove that there's been a significant change of circumstances, such as a change in:

  • a child's physical custody
  • a child's needs
  • a parent's income, or
  • a child's age (over 18) and educational status.

If it's been at least 35 months, you don't need to show a change in circumstances.

Either way, the agency will review your order and, if a modification is warranted, will provide both parents with a proposed modified order. Parents who don't agree with the proposed modification may request an administrative hearing. (Or. Admin. Rules, rule 137-055-3430 (2024).)

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