When child support payments are part of a divorce settlement or have been ordered by the court, these payments must continue to be made until the child turns 18 – or until a modification or termination of the payments is ordered by the court.
In the event, however, that one parent stops making these payments, knowing what steps to take to enforce the court’s orders – and to hold the non-paying parent accountable – can be crucial to resolving the issue and moving forward.
To shed some light on parents’ options for addressing child support defaults, below we have answered some of the most commonly asked questions about enforcing child support in Oregon.
Although the following answers are helpful, you are encouraged to contact a trusted Portland family law attorney at Helzer & Cromar, LLP when you need specific answers pertaining to your situation and needs.
Q – What should I do when the other parent stops making child support payments?
A – Filing an Order to Show Cause with the court (ideally the court that ordered the child support payments in the first place) is usually the best action to take when one parent defaults on his or her child support obligations. Once this Order has been filed, the court and Oregon’s Division of Child Support (DCS) have various tools at their disposal for compelling payment.
These include (and are by no means limited to):
- Garnishing wages
- Seizing bank accounts
- Intercepting tax refunds, inheritances and/or lottery winnings
- Placing liens on personal property and/or real estate
- Suspending or revoking drivers’ licenses
- Suspending professional licenses
- Reporting nonpayment to the major credit reporting bureaus.
Additionally, the courts can find that non-paying parents are in contempt and, consequently, order them to serve time in jail and/or pay additional fines.
Q – Can I withhold visitation or parenting time if (s)he isn’t making the child support payments?
A – Legally, no, you cannot prevent the other parent from getting visitation and/or parenting time with the child if that other parent has stopped making child support payments. You can, however, petition the court to alter the custody arrangement if the other parent defaults on his or her child support obligations.
Q – What if I’m supposed to be paying child support and I’m no longer able to make the payments?
A – In these situations, the best thing to do is to petition the court to modify (or possibly terminate) the child support payments ASAP. Simply defaulting on payments can lead to the enforcement actions listed above; when, however, job loss, the development of a health problem or other significant circumstances change your financial situation and you cannot satisfy your child support payments, the court can review the circumstances and adjust the obligation accordingly.
Need More Answers? Contact a Portland Family Law Attorney at Helzer & Cromar, LLP
If you are dealing with a child support issue or need experienced help resolving any other family legal matter, you can turn to a Portland family law attorney at Helzar & Cromar, LLP for aggressive, compassionate representation moving forward.
To find out more about our services and how we can help you, call us at (503) 626-2889 or send us an email via the contact form on this page. The attorneys at Helzer & Cromar provide the highest quality legal services to clients in Portland and Beaverton, as well as throughout the state of Oregon.