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McMurchie and McMurchie

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 05-22-2013
Case #: A146713
Duncan, J. for the Court; Haselton, C.J.; and Armstrong, P.J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A146713.pdf

Family Law: When determining a parent's presumed income, for the purposes of determining a child support obligation, a court may consider the parent's actual income or potential income, but not both.

Mother and Father appealed the trial court's supplemental judgment modifying child support. Mother and Father divorced in 2002 and father was ordered to pay child support. Father remarried, and his current wife won the Oregon Lottery. Most of the money was placed in investment accounts generating approximately $40,000 a year. Father has been unemployed since 2001. The trial court determined Father’s presumed income by adding potential income Father would earn if employed for minimum wage in Oregon and half of the investment interest earned from lottery winnings. On appeal, Mother argued the support amount was too low because Father’s presumed income was miscalculated. On cross-appeal, Father argued that the amount was too high and that the trial court improperly considered both potential income and actual income in determining presumed income. The Court concluded that under OAR 137-050-0715, for the purposes of calculating child support, a parent's presumed income is either their actual income or potential income, not both. Once presumed income is calculated, the trial court may determine if the amount is unjust or inappropriate and may apply rebuttable factors to adjust the amount. On appeal and cross-appeal, reversed and remanded.