New Law: Changes to the Definition of “Child Attending School.”

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In its 2005 legislative assembly, the Oregon Legislature enacted Senate Bill 1050, which made significant changes to ORS 107.108, the statute which provides for continuing child support for children between 18 and 21 who are attending school. The changes became effective on September 1, 2005 and apply to all child support orders, not just the ones that were entered after the new statute became effective. Some highlights of the bill are described below.

Senate Bill 1050 changes the old grade requirement from a “C” average, to “making satisfactory academic progress as defined by the school that the child attends.” The term “school” includes four-year institutions, vocational schools, high school completion programs and even home schooling. Even if a child is failing, he or she still has rights under the new amendments. Every child between the ages of 18 and 21, regardless of whether he or she is in school, is now made a party to any proceeding in which the court has the authority to order or modify support. The child (rather than a parent on behalf of a child) may also apply for services, request modification of the support award, and receive notice of and have the right to participate in proceedings that may affect the his or her rights. Children are now also required to provide written consent allowing each parent to obtain information directly from the school regarding the child’s enrollment, grades, current standing, and course load. The change in the reporting requirement prevents children from enrolling just to obtain child support and then dropping out. Under the old law, a parent would have to continue to pay support until the next reporting period. The revised law also allows children who have lost their “child attending school” status to become reinstated if they meet the requirements. Under the old law, children who lost their status were permanently ineligible for continued support.

The full text of Senate Bill 1050 can be found on the Oregon Division of Child Support website at http://dcs.state.or.us/.