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Oregon child support, custody, visitation, and wage garnishment rules

Use this Oregon child support law to learn about your child support rights and responsibilites.

How is Oregon child support determined?

In Oregon, either or both parents may be ordered to provide child support. In determining child support the courts will consider:

  • all earnings, income and resources of each parent, including real and personal property
  • the earnings history and potential of each parent
  • the reasonable necessities of each parent
  • the ability of each parent to borrow
  • the educational, physical and emotional needs of the child for whom the support is sought
  • the amount of assistance which would be paid to the child under the full standard of the states IV-A plan
  • pre-existing support orders and current dependents
  • any social security or veterans' benefits paid to the child as a result of the parent's disability or retirement

According to Oregon's guidelines, the child is entitled to benefit from the income of both parents to the same extent that he or she would have if the family had remained intact. Both parents should share in the costs of supporting the child in the same proportion as each parent's income bears to the combined income of both parents.

Child support in Oregon must also be determined to insure, as a minimum, that the child being supported benefits from the income and resources of the absent parent on a fair basis in comparison with any other minor children of the absent parent.

There are official Oregon Child Support guidelines, designed to be in the best interests of the child, that the courts use to help determine the correct amount of child support. These guidelines will be followed, unless the parents have agreed to a child support amount approved by the court, or the court finds these guidelines unjust for a particular case. The formula used in the guidelines to determine each parent’s support obligation is based on the combined income of both parents and then determines each parent’s pro rated share of the base support amount.

At what age does child support payments end?

Generally, the obligation ends when the child reaches 18 years of age or 21 years of age if the child is in school half-time or more.

Oregon's custody guidelines:

In determining the custody of a minor child, primary consideration is given to the best interests and welfare of the child. The court will award joint or sole custody based on the best interests of the child after considering factors including but not limited to:

  • the emotional ties between the child and other family members
  • the interest of the parties in the child and their attitudes toward the child
  • the desirability of continuing an existing relationship
  • the abuse of one parent by the other
  • the preference for the primary caregiver of the child if the caregiver is deemed fit by the court
  • the willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child; however, the court may not consider such willingness and ability if one parent shows that the other parent has sexually assaulted or engaged in a pattern of abusive behavior against the parent or a child

The court will not award sole or joint custody of a child to a parent who has committed abuse against the other parent or a child.

No preference in custody shall be given based solely on gender.

Oregon's medical insurance guidelines:

All child support orders and any modifications of those orders, require that the obligor shall name the subject child as the beneficiary on any health insurance plan that is available (under the terms of an applicable contract) to the obligor at a reasonable cost. 

Health insurance is considered reasonable in cost if coverage for the child is employment related insurance or other group health insurance which is available at a monthly cost not to exceed the amount of the monthly child support obligation.

The obligor cannot be ordered to pay the other parent for out-of-pocket child health care costs totaling more than what would be the obligor's share of the insurance if the insurance were reasonable in cost.

If health insurance is not available to an obligor at the time a child support order is entered, the order shall include a provision requiring the obligor to provide health insurance in the future when health insurance becomes available to the obligor.

How permanent are the provisions for Oregon child support and custody ?

Court orders providing for support and custody of children are subject to change or modification based upon a substantial change in circumstance.

While all orders concerning the children are modifiable in the future, we encourage you to not enter into an agreement based on the idea that it can always be changed or modified later.

Wage garnishment for child support payments:

Most states, including Oregon, have a provision for withholding child support directly from the earnings of the parent who has been ordered to provide support. In some cases, the courts will order the support to be withheld. The payments are withheld much like income tax is withheld from earnings payments.

This way of paying and receiving child support is generally easier for both parties and considered a very dependable solution. The way it typically works is, once the support is withheld, it is then sent to the state agency authorized to receive and disburse payments. Once it has been verified that the support was paid, it is then sent to the parent designated to receive the support.

If a non-custodial parent can show that they are providing more than 50 percent of the support for dependents not included in the court order from a second marriage, and is not in arrears, no more than 50% of their disposable income can be attached if they cannot pay the full court-ordered amount of both orders.

That number goes to 55% if the non-custodial parent is in arrears, 60 percent for a person only providing support to dependents under the current order, and 65% for a person who is in arrears and paying only on the current order.

How does joint custody work?

Joint custody is an arrangement by which parents share rights and responsibilities for major decisions concerning the child, including but not limited to the child's residence, education, health care and religious training. 

An order providing for joint custody may specify one home as the primary residence of the child and designate one parent to have sole power to make decisions about specific matters while both parents retain equal rights and responsibilities for other decisions.

The court will not order joint custody unless both parents agree to the terms and conditions of the order. When parents have agreed to joint custody in an order or decree, the court may not overrule that agreement by ordering sole custody to one parent.

Modification of a joint custody order requires the showing of changed circumstances and the showing that the modification is in the best interests of the child.

How Oregon determines child visitation:

Generally, parents are free to visit with their children at all times that are mutually agreed to by both parents. However, when parents cannot agree to exactly when visitation will occur, the standard visitation schedule accepted most everywhere in the nation is:

  • every other weekend
  • four to six (4-6) weeks during the summer
  • alternating holidays
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