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Oregon Child Support Division, Request for Modification, Conflict of Interest

If you’re reading this, you probably live in Oregon and pay child support. And you probably pay a lot. I do, too. You”ve probably also visited the Oregon Child Support Division’s website. You may have even managed to find the “Request for Review – Modification or Termination” form (nice going) and are wondering if you can reduce your child support with it. You can. You might be wondering if you need a lawyer to fill it out for you for $500. You don’t. I’m not a lawyer and this is not legal gospel, but this page might help you. I would love to hear your experience either way.

The form is pretty self-explanatory. Be honest on it because you want your modification (reduction) to go through. If you lie anywhere on any of the documents you will regret it.

You’ll need to also fill out a “Unified Income and Expense Statement.” Be honest on that (no joke) or at best you’ll spend nights awake worrying that the Oregon Justice Department will uncover the truth (and they will). The person receiving support also has an incentive to hide income and they will.

So mail the paperwork in and wait about a month for the process to start. Wait another month for the process to have some forward motion. Finally, when the modification order is submitted, you’ll have 30 days to contest the findings and income statements. I would suggest you look VERY CAREFULLY at what your ex reported as their total income. There is a good chance that your ex obfuscated some income. There are many incentives for them to and if they did, it’s a prosecutable offense.

Finally, if you’re satisfied with what the Justice Department thinks is a good modification and you think your ex reliably reported the income, sign the final ‘ok’ form. Your ex also has to sign within 60 days. If the ex doesn’t sign the form in 60 days, you can have the Sheriff show up at her door since she didn’t have time to sign it while she was in the Caribbean. A true story from your’s truly.

One last thing (soapbox time): the State of Oregon doesn’t care (or hasn’t cared) about equal accountability for child support. Believe me; I’ve had an ongoing discussion with them. They really don’t. They “will consider” fixing the complete lack of accountability for the person who receives the four-figure a month sum. Ultimately, though, that’s not in their best interest. It would be work for them that they’re not really interested in doing. The OCS is in the business of making money for the State (“…while returning crucial funds to the public treasury.” – John Kroger – if there is a clearer example of conflicting of interests, I haven’t seen one). It makes a lot of money. In fact, they are the cash cow for the Oregon Department of Justice. John Kroger states that the OCS collects money from 450,000 people in the State of Oregon and “Oregon’s program is one of the most efficient agencies of its kind in the nation – a tribute to our Division of Child Support and District Attorneys’ Office staff.” Efficiency takes precedence over justice in this case because of the conflict of interest in making money versus running an equitable division. If all parents paid as much as I do, that’s a smidge over $482 million dollars that passes through that division in a year. If they get interest on that, let’s pretend 4%, they’re making 19 million dollars a year.

Best of luck.

  • Adam

    Great bit of information. I’ve gone through this process and you outlined it very well. I would also like to emphasize the need to review your ex’s stated income (and child rearing expenses). My ex’s parents paid for a very high dollar, private pre-school but my ex was able to sneak it into the “child care” column on the assessment worksheet. This dramatically shot up my monthly child support payment ($710 pmo, whereas I only make between $800-1400 depending on the month).

    It can be a crushing blow.

    Men deal with divorce different than women. They want to be strong and just “man up” and allow the woman to take what she wants and walk away. Let me tell you guys, I’ve been getting screwed for well over a decade from taking that course when I was young. The OCS is not setup to be fair, it is setup to put money into the city coffers and defend their cash cows (ex’s).

  • Anonymous

    Adam,

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I entirely sympathize with your struggle. There was a period of nearly two years when I ate nothing but rice, beans, eggs, and tortillas to survive an oppressive child support order. I rode my bike 16 miles a day for over a year to minimize gas expenses. I had periods of vertigo due to exhaustion and not enough to eat. And my ex during this time? Lasik eye surgery, new furniture, paid off her car loan, and collected rent from her boyfriend.

    You won’t see a picture of that on the Oregon Child Support Program‘s website. Instead, you’ll see stock photography of children on swings.

  • Adam

    I’ve been there too. When I first started having my paycheck garnished in 2001, they made a mistake and for 6 months, they garnished 100% of my check. I called almost daily to have the issue addressed to no avail. It wasn’t until I was laid off that I was able to be free of the theft. In that 6 months, I lost my car, was surfing many of my friend’s couches, eat ramen and eggs as a staple (with the occasional $0.99 Whopper JR to get more nutrition, eeek). That vertigo is scary.

  • Danny

    I’ve have two children that I suppor. my first child was born out of wedlock and now he is 13 going on 14 .he now lives in state of wash. never do I see him. my other son now 11yr.old lives on the east coast with his mother step father an never do I see him.his mother said things will be okay about contact /visiting. I haven’t see the both of them they were both born here an now I’m alone paying.

  • central oregon plumber

    I Don’t Believe That The 4 % Is Correct I Have Read And Heard That The Federal Government Kicks Back Two Dollars To Every Dollar Collected

  • Rob

    Can I go back and dispute her income now that I have proof that she lied or do we only get that 30 day window??

    • @Rob: I’d recommend spending an hour with an attorney for their advice pertaining to your proof. Possible outcome is a violation of ORS 162.065 (Perjury) or ORS 162.075 (False Swearing) both of which are criminal offenses. I’d imagine an attorney could use that as leverage in a settlement to recoup whatever the difference might have been in the support obligation and then immediately file a support modification.

  • reeferhead

    My Dad is 65 on SSI payng Child Support to a 35 year old woman. He gets 350 a month after his garnishment which is less than his rent. Ill give this a shot and see how it goes.

  • Joey McClary

    “There are many incentives for them to and if they did, it’s a prosecutable offense.” You forgot to add “unless it’s done by a woman.”