As a Portland divorce and child custody attorney, I am frequently asked if a person either paying or receiving child support can later change the amount ordered. In Oregon, a party seeking to adjust a child support obligation must either 1) prove a substantial change in circumstances that was unanticipated at the time of the initial award, or 2) wait 35 months from the time the child support was awarded and conduct an administrative modification.
Therefore, if a person does not have 35 months to wait for administrative review, they have to prove a substantial change in circumstances. Oregon statutes and case law list some of the possible changes that would justify a modification of child support:
1) An increase or decrease in Obligor’s (the person paying) income.
2) A voluntary reduction in Obligor’s income. However, keep in mind the reduction must be in “good faith.”
3) An increase or decrease in Obligee’s (the person receiving support) income;
4) A change in children’s needs.
5) A change in custody.
6) Additional children.
In order to obtain a modification using a change of circumstances requires filing a motion with the Court, whereas an administrative review can be initiated by calling the closest Division of Child Support. If you currently pay or receive child support, and you believe that you qualify for a modification, I highly suggest you speak to an attorney before attempting to file a motion on your own.