Effective July 1, 2013, the Oregon Department of Justice released their revised child support guidelines. The guidelines are used to assist courts, attorneys, and parents in determining the appropriate amount of child support. The changes include a new online calculator, meant to simplify and streamline the calculation process. Several of the key changes are outlined below:
The old guidelines required that both parents be required to carry health insurance for the children, if it was available at a reasonable cost. The new guidelines require that only one parent must carry coverage, and that the parent with the most parenting time may decide which parent provides that coverage. An additional change in this area is the apportionment of the cost of coverage between the two parents.
Cash Medical Support
The old guidelines automatically ordered a parent to pay cash medical support if that parent was not providing health insurance. The new child support guidelines only order cash medical support if neither parent is providing health insurance.
Parenting Time Credit
The old guidelines did not give a parent a “credit” for parenting time until he/she reached a threshold of 25%. This meant that a parent with 90 overnights per year did not receive credit against his/her child support for that time. The new guidelines give a parenting credit on a graduated curve. This will reduce child support for many individuals.
The old guidelines set parents at minimum wage if they were not working or earned less than full-time minimum wage. The new guidelines allow for the inclusion of a party’s actual income. Parents will only be listed as earning minimum wage if there is no information about that parent’s wage history, or the parent is receiving TANF benefits. This is a dramatic change to the child support rules.
The new guidelines update and increase the cap on childcare costs for various parts of the state.
The old guidelines allowed parents to deviate from the presumptively correct amount, so long as it was within 10% of the guideline amount. The new guidelines increase this to 15%.
Remember, the Department of Justice will modify child support on your behalf every three years, even if there hasn’t been a substantial change of circumstances in either party’s finances. However, before requesting a review, it is a good idea to speak with a lawyer to see if the new guidelines are to your benefit.