Child support is determined by a complex formula called the Child Support Guidelines. It is available to everyone to use to assist in trying to figure out the level of support you will have to pay or may receive.
The primary factors that most affect the level of child support are the levels of income of each party, the number of overnights the children spend with each parent, the amount of work-related day care expenses, and the cost for health care premiums.
Income is usually an average of income over at least a 12-month period. An exceptionally high pay check should not be used to set child support; conversely, a particularly short pay check should not be used to set child support either. Overtime and bonuses are part of income and although they may not be predictable, they are averaged into your income for child support purposes.
Here is a link to the Oregon Child Support Program Guidelines.
PAY YOUR CHILD SUPPORT FIRST
If you want the judge to really listen to your case and your arguments for being named the custodial parent or for more parenting time than what your ex wants you to have, pay your child support. Even if it has not yet been established. We can help estimate child support and then pay it. No judge likes to hear a parent say: “But I wasn’t ordered to pay child support.” Doesn’t that sound pretty lame? Your children need to eat, be supported, have a roof over their heads, they need stability and your child support helps to provide that; especially in the middle of a divorce.
“BUT I HAVE OTHER BILLS AND CANNOT AFFORD CHILD SUPPORT”
There is no doubt that paying child support can be painful due to other financial obligations. The court understands this and attempts to be as reasonable as possible, with the exception of child support. To all judges, almost universally, paying child support is so important, they would prefer that your other bills fall into arrears or even prefer to have you declare bankruptcy than not pay child support. The State of Oregon child support division is equally unsympathetic to non payers of child support. They will attempt to collect against your paycheck, they will attempt to hold you in contempt of court; they will suspend your driver’s license. It is better that you think of child support as a MANDATORY payment that is similar to taxes, social security, or union dues, over which you have no control.
I know this is hard news; but really, it is better to learn this now, early on, than later in front of a judge that is hammering you because you have not paid child support. To be forewarned is to be forearmed; you can get yourself ready and get ahead of the game so you can prevail in the long run.