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Legal Information: Oregon

Oregon Child Support

Laws current as of
December 31, 2023

What is child support?

Child support is money paid by one parent to the other parent or guardian to be used for the care of the child. However, both parents may be ordered to pay child support if a minor lives with a caretaker or is in state care.1 Child support may include money payments and providing health care coverage for the child.2 It is usually paid on the first day of the month.3

1 O.A.R. 137-050-0710(1)(i)(D)
2 O.R.S. § 25.321(6)
3 O.R.S. § 25.166

How long does child support have to be paid?

In Oregon, like in many states, child support is paid until the child reaches the age of majority, which in Oregon is 18 years old.1 However, if the child is attending school, child support may be paid until s/he turns 21 years old. Under Oregon law, a “child attending school” is a child who:

  1. is unmarried;
  2. is between the ages of 18 and 21;
  3. is making satisfactory academic progress; and
  4. is in school at least part-time.2

If a child is under 18 years of age but is emancipated, married, self-supporting, or in the military, the parent’s obligation to support the child ends.3  

1 O.R.S. § 109.510
2 O.R.S. § 107.108(1)(a)
3 O.R.S. § 25.501(5)

How will a judge decide the amount of a child support award?

Oregon law has a formula for calculating child support that a judge should follow to give you a child support award. This formula, known as the Child Support Guidelines, takes into account:

  • the parents’ incomes, earning history, and earning potential;
  • the reasonable needs (necessities) of each parent;
  • the ability of each parent to borrow money;
  • the educational, physical, and emotional needs of the child;
  • pre-existing support orders and current dependents;
  • the amount of assistance that would be paid to the child under the full standard of need of the state’s IV-A plan; and
  • other factors that are appropriate.1

Sometimes, as part of a divorce or custody case, parents will agree on a child support amount. If you and the other parent do not agree on the amount of support, a judge will order the support obligation. Also, the Oregon Child Support Program can establish a child support award if you request it, even if there is not a case in court.2

To get an idea of how much child support you can get you may access the ​Child Support Calculator online.3

1 O.R.S. § 25.275(1)
2 See Oregon Judicial Branch website
3 See Oregon Child Support Program website


How do I file for child support?

If you want to file for child support, you can do so through the Child Support Program or in court. You do not need to file a custody or divorce case to get a support order through the Child Support Program, but the paternity of your child must be established first. To apply for paternity establishment or child support services, you need to first open an online account, or you can go to a Child Support Program office and then complete an application for services. Once you submit the application, a child support case manager will get in touch to help you through additional steps. You may download the application from the Child Support Program’s website.1

If you prefer to go through the court, you may go to the circuit court of the county where your child lives, where you live, or where the other parent lives. In the petition, you should include information about other support proceedings involving your child and if there is an existing support order in Oregon or any other state (jurisdiction).2

1 See Oregon Child Support Program website
2 O.R.S. § 109.103(1), (2)

Can a child support order be changed?

The courts and the Child Support Program can change (modify) your child support order if there has been a significant change of circumstances since the order was issued. At least one of the following significant changes are required:

  1. the parenting time agreement or order has changed;
  2. the financial or household circumstances of one or both parents have changed;
  3. one of the following benefits received by your child or on behalf of your child were not considered in the original order:
    • Social Security benefits
    • Veterans’ benefits
    • Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance benefits;
  4. the needs of your child have changed;
  5. the support order has been suspended due to the incarceration of the parent who pays child support and reestablished due to his/her release and qualifies for a review;
  6. there is a need to add or change medical support provisions for your child;
  7. the physical custody of your child has changed;
  8. the order is being modified to add or remove a child; or
  9. your child does not qualify as a “child attending school” and the order needs to be changed.1

Even if there has not been a significant change of circumstances, the Child Support Program can also review your child support order every three years to see if it still meets the Oregon guidelines.2

1 O.A.R. 137-055-3430
2 O.R.S. § 25.287(b)