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Problems After Getting a Child Support Order

  • CSP: the acronym for the Oregon Child Support Program. This is a government program that provides free help to parents with getting or paying child support.  
  • DA: the acronym for district attorney. In Oregon, the district attorney usually handles criminal cases. But in some counties, they also help parents with child support cases.  
  • Child support: a monthly payment that one parent pays to another parent to help with expenses for the child, such as food, clothing, housing, childcare, health care, and other costs.  
  • Child support order: a legal document from a court or from the Oregon Child Support Program that requires a parent to pay child support. 

Ask the CSP or DA for help. The CSP or DA can take legal action for you to get the other parent to pay. Their services are free.  

It depends. 

  • If you’ve gone to court for custody: No. You must follow the court-ordered visitation schedule even if the other parent doesn’t pay support.  
  • If you haven’t gone to court for custody: Yes, but it may not be a good idea. The other parent could take you to court for custody. In a custody case, a judge will pay attention to your reasons for keeping the other parent from their child. 

No. You can get in trouble if you stop paying court-ordered child support. 

If you have a court order that says you get to see your child, go here for information on your options. If you don’t have a court order, you can go to this page for more information.

In Oregon, child support usually ends when a child turns 18. But child support can continue until age 21 if the child:  

  1. Is unmarried; 
  2. Is going to school at least half-time;  
  3. Gives notice before they turn 18 to the parent who pays support; and 
  4. Signs a consent form allowing their school to disclose information about their enrollment status, courses, and academic status to the parent paying support.  

Child support may stop before 18 if the child gets married, joins the military, or becomes a legal adult (emancipated).

It depends. If you get government assistance from a state or a tribe, like cash assistance, food stamps, or disability benefits, you may not have to pay support. Talk to the CSP or DA to see if you still must pay child support. If you were charged child support while you were on government assistance, the CSP can also lower or cancel your past-due child support debt.

No. Do not stop paying. If you can’t afford the payment, contact the CSP or DA and ask to change the payment amount. If you can’t afford to pay the entire amount, pay as much as you can while you are asking to change the support amount.

It depends:  

  • Ask the CSP or DA: You can ask the CSP or DA to recalculate child support and change your child support order if you can answer yes to one of these questions: 
    • It’s been three years since the child support order was created;  
    • There’s been a big change in your financial situation; or 
    • There’s been a big change in the other parent’s financial situation.   
  • Ask the court: If the CSP or DA won’t help you change child support or you want to change other things like legal custody or visitation, you will need to handle this on your own by turning in papers with the court. For more information on changing a court order, go here.

Do not stop paying support. If you can’t afford to pay the entire amount, pay as much as you can.  

You can also ask to change the order if you believe your financial situation is not going to get better in the near future. (See the question above.) For example, if you lost your job because of health issues and you can’t return to similar work.  

Tip: It takes time to change your child support order. If you have a permanent change in your income, you should act quickly to change child support. 

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