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Summer (Extended) Parent Time and Child Support

Child support can sometimes be confusing.   It is generally just a set amount that is paid every month,  However, there are a few exceptions.   One exception is that if the non-custodial parent has the children for at least 12 days during any consecutive 30 days, child support will be reduced by 25% – for that month.  Most parents have at least two weeks of uninterrupted summer parent time so this applies to almost all parents – unless their divorce decree says something different.  This adjustment is not automatic.  You will need to coordinate the reduction with your co-parent.  If you use ORS, you will need to talk to them about the child support change for that month.

If the non-custodial parent has the children for at least 25  days during any consecutive 30 days, child support will be reduced by 50% – for that month.  If you are the parent that pays child support it probably seems ridiculous that you still have to pay child support when the children are with you. However, unless your divorce decree says something different than the statute, you still have to pay 50% even when the children are with you for the month.  Again, this change in support will not be done automatically.   You will need to figure out the changed amount and coordinate with your co-parent and possibly ORS.

Please contact us if you have any questions about how child support is adjusted for extended parent time.


How Do I Communicate with My Ex?

Man TextingCommunication after divorce can be a real issue, especially when emotions are still strained and pained.   It is very important to make sure that all communications with your ex are civil and appropriate.  As you are communicating with your ex,  imagine that your texts, emails and even phone conversations will be heard or listened to by a commissioner or judge – because they could.

It is critical to make sure that all your communications are civil, meaning courteous and polite.   Be sure that your communications are clear, respectful and focused on the real issues.  Don’t use profanity or vulgar language.   Be sure that there are no threats, veiled or otherwise.   Do not use language that is intended to get an emotional response from your ex.   If there are protective orders in place be sure that you obey them completely.

It is essential that you protect your children from any and all harmful comments about their other parent.  Never speak ill of their parent (or that parent’s family) in the presence of the child or anywhere the child might possibly hear you.   (Kids are amazing eavesdroppers.) Make sure that others only speak respectfully about your children’s parent or family as well.  It is harmful to children to be exposed to negativity about their other parent.

Sometimes, when relationships are very strained, parties may need outside help.  There are apps, professionals and websites that can aid in this process.  However, these vary in expense and in complication.

Please contact us if you would like to discuss communication or any other issues related to your divorce.


I’m Getting Divorced- What Happens to My Health Insurance?

Health InsuranceHealth insurance is a big issue in divorces.  Often one spouse has provided the health insurance for the other spouse. During the divorce process, this spouse will need to continue to provide the insurance until the divorce is final.  Once a divorce is final, the spouse providing the health insurance will no longer be able to do so.  Health insurance companies do not allow insurance to be extended to the divorced spouse.  (There is no problem continuing insurance coverage for the children.)

Federal Law provides that when individuals lose their health insurance they are entitled to be covered under that health insurance plan for up to three years once they lose their coverage, including by divorce. This law is called the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA).

Under COBRA the individual will be responsible for the insurance coverage up to 102% of the cost of the plan. Health insurance premiums through COBRA are usually extremely expensive.  Many parties are unable to afford these premiums.  However, this is an option for the spouse losing health insurance due to the divorce.

The area of health care law continues to change.  It is worth looking into when you are going through a divorce.  If health insurance is a big issue for you and your family, you may consider a legal separation.  A legal separation may allow health insurance to be provided, even when the parties are living separate lives.

Please contact us if you would like to discuss insurance or any other issues related to your divorce.

My Baby Mama/Daddy and I have Split….What Do We Do?

Dad with babyA paternity action is similar to a divorce – except the parents were never legally married. A paternity order will address the issues of custody, parent time, child support, and other issues. A paternity order may seem unimportant when the parties are getting along, however, if the relationship breaks down it will become very important, very quickly. Without an order, the parties have equal access to the children. Either party can keep the children from the other party and there is very little to be done without an order signed by a judge.

When the parties are getting along they may be able to craft an agreement which can be turned into an order than explains how they want their co-parenting relationship to be designed. An order crafted by the parties is almost always preferable to an order handed down by the judge because the parties will know the intricacies of their situation, their children and their schedules. It is important to have your proposed order reviewed by an attorney before making it final to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything important. It can be a challenge to fix your order once it is signed by a judge.

If you would like to schedule an appointment to discuss your paternity matter, please contact an attorney with Preston, Pence & Lisonbee.

How Is a Paternity Action Different From a Divorce

Paternity GraphicA paternity action isn’t very different from a divorce. A divorce decree will cover issues not in a paternity order, such as the division of property, debts and assets. Both the divorce decree and the paternity order will cover child custody (legal and physical), parent time, holidays, child support, medical expenses, daycare expenses, and tax deductions.

Both divorce cases and paternity cases begin with a Petition and an Answer. The next step in most cases is mediation. If mediation is mandatory both parties are required to attend mediation and the parties typically share the cost of the mediator equally.

Mediation is a great place for the parties to try and solve their issues on their own. A decision the parties reach on their own is almost always better than a decision by a judge. Judges don’t tend to be very creative – whereas the parties know their own situation and can figure out a plan that reaches the needs of their particular families. Before you sign anything that is binding and final, please consult an attorney. It can be a challenge to fix your order once it is signed by a judge.

If you would like to schedule an appointment to discuss your paternity matter, please contact an attorney with Preston, Pence & Lisonbee.