November 10, 2011

New Case Law – Support Enforcement Division Does Not Have Authority to Modify Child Support While an Appeal is Pending

On August 31, 2011, the Oregon Court of Appeals decided Division of Family Support Unit v. Sullivan.

This case deals with a parent’s ability to modify child support through the Support Enforcement Division while the divorce judgment is being appealed.  Mother had appealed the trial court’s decision in the divorce case and, while her appeal was pending, Father requested a modification of child support.  There followed a number of different administrative and Circuit Court hearings related to Father’s request to modify child support, and Mother eventually appealed the final decision.  The Court of Appeals stated that the Support Enforcement Division did not have the authority to modify child support while the appeal was pending.

It is important to note that, under ORS 19.275, the trial court can modify child support while an appeal is pending based on a substantial change of circumstances.  This decision only limits administrative changes to child support.

The entire opinion can be found here.