November 16, 2016

New Case Law – Parenting Time Change As Basis for Child Support Modification

Family law is often seen as a messy and emotionally driven area of legal work. As a family law attorney, I need to both deal with the emotional side of cases and be technically proficient regarding the legal issues at hand.

One place where technical legal hurdles occur is in the area of modifications. Child support is set based upon factors that are frozen in time and the time of the judgment. In the real world, however, health insurance premiums, child care costs, parenting time and incomes change frequently. In Oregon, when one of these factors change enough to make it worthwhile for a party to ask for a change in child support, that party needs to file a motion and demonstrate that the change has been substantial. If the change is not “substantial,” then the court cannot approve the change (even if factors are different than they were).

The court of appeals recently decided a case which turned on whether or not a change in parenting time is a substantial change in circumstances sufficient to justify a modification of child support. This link will take you to the opinion.  In the case, the court of appeals holds that father’s increase in time from 41% to 100% was a substantial change.