A brief overview of what is required to modify child support through the Child Support Program (CSP).
Should I Modify Support?
There are two situations that qualify you to ask the Child Support Program (CSP) to modify your child support without going to court. Either thirty-five (35) months have passed since the last order was established or reviewed or there has been a substantial change in circumstances.
35 Months Rule
To determine whether thirty-five (35) months has passed, you can either call CSP and ask them when the last order was entered, or you can look at your last order.
Your order may have come from CSP or it may be from a circuit court case. Whichever is the most recent is the one you look at. Since CSP most likely provides support enforcement, your most accurate date will come from them.
If this time period has passed, you do not need to prove that things have changed substantially. However, just because you are time eligible for a review does not mean that a change will take place.
Follow link #1 below to find the office nearest you.
Substantial Change in Circumstances
If thirty-five (35) months have not passed, you will be required to demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances. The burden is on you, meaning that you must state the change and then prove it.
There are a number of ways to demonstrate that there has been a substantial change in circumstances. The more common changes involve a loss of a job, one party getting a new job with substantially more income, a change in how much the children live with one parent or the other, loss of or change to health care coverage, loss of or change to public benefits, birth of a new child, and/or one of the parents is incarcerated.
The change must be substantial. So if your income changed just a little bit, it is unlikely that CSP will modify the order. If the child is with you just a couple extra days per month, it is unlikely that CSP will modify the order.
Follow link # 2 to find the form to initiate this modification.
Evidence and Proof
A basic understanding of evidence will help you in this process. Practically speaking, there are two kinds of evidence: testimony and objects (papers, etc). A thing can be proved with either or both kinds of evidence. For example, in theory, you can prove that a thing is true just by saying it. In practice, if there is better evidence of the truth than your word, you should present that evidence.
In this situation, if the thing you wish to prove is that you have been laid off or your income has decreased, the best evidence might be a copy of a letter stating you are laid off, proof that you have applied for unemployment, or copies of your pay stubs showing your decreased income.
If you believe that the other party's income has increased, the state will request document from that party and otherwise use its all seeing eye to determine that person's income.
The key is to be organized and cooperative so that those in a position to help you can do so with minimal work.
When will the change go into effect?
Once you file for a modification, the other party will be served with those papers. If the modification is approved, the change will be effective as of the date that the other party was served with the modification papers.
The Oregon Child Support website is an excellent source of information, forms, and contact information. The purpose of this guide is to give you an overview, for all those questions not addressed, follow link #3 to the CSP website.
If you have questions about the process, are unsure if you are eligible, and can't find the answers you need on the CSP website, you might consider scheduling a consultation with an attorney in your area.
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