While child support orders that result from a divorce are not exactly easy to change, neither are they set in stone.
In order to obtain a modification of child support, a parent must submit a written request to the Oregon Department of Justice’s Child Support Program, or seek a judicial review through the circuit court system.
Generally, in order to be granted a child support modification, the parent requesting the modification must demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances.
Though certainly not an all-inclusive list, in this blog we have outlined some of the common situations could potentially qualify as grounds for obtaining a child support modification in the State of Oregon.
Please keep in mind, this blog is not intended as legal advice for your unique circumstances. Consult with an experienced family law attorney like those at Pacific Cascade Family Law for a review and advice on your specific situation.
Child’s Medical Needs
If the medical needs of the child change, this could be grounds for either a temporary or permanent modification to the support order. For example, if the child were to develop some sort of chronic illness or be severely injured in a car accident, the non-paying parent could request that the paying parent increase the amount of child support in order to help pay the increased medical bills.
Change in Income
A change in income for either parent, whether through promotion, a new job, or from being terminated from a job, could be grounds for a child support modification. For example, if the paying parent was laid off from his or her job and could no longer afford the child support payments, they could seek to modify the current order.
Parental Illness or Disability
As with changes to the medical needs of the child, if either parent falls severely ill or becomes disabled—particularly in a manner which could affect their ability to work—this could qualify as grounds for a child support modification. Whether the modification request is being review by the state or by the courts, the most important factor will be whatever is in the best interests of the child alongside the gross income of each parent. If an illness or disability results in a loss of income, or any inability to properly provide for the child, a modification may be granted.
Change in Custody
If, by virtue of a child custody modification, the original custody arrangement is changing, then the child support order will likely need to be updated to reflect the new arrangement as well.
Child Attending School (College)
Though most child support orders will address educational costs, if for some reason a support order does not and the child wants to go to college, the support order could be modified to require the paying parent to help provide for the costs of school if the child is between the ages of 18 and 21 and the support order is still in effect.
35 Months Since Last Modification
If 35 months have passed since the date that the last order was reviewed or entered, then a parent can request that the Oregon Child Support Program review the support order and determine if any changes are needed. The requesting parent does not need to demonstrate any significant change of circumstances in order to have the support order reviewed in this case, but any modification would be based on the same income-based grounds which were used to determine the original order, so without any significant changes in circumstances for either parent or the child it is unlikely the state will modify the order.
If you are seeking a modification to your existing child support order, it is vital that you take the proper legal approach if you are to have any chance of being granted a modification. Contact Pacific Cascade Family Law today and let us help ensure that your child has all the resources he or she needs to thrive.