• Can I stop allowing parenting time if the other parent stops paying child support? Category: Child Matters

    No. You must give the other parent the parenting time ordered even if child support is not being paid.

  • Can I stop paying child support if the other parent won't let me visit my child? Category: Child Matters

    No. You can go to Court and ask to end the child support order until you receive your parenting time, but you cannot end payments without the Court’s permission. The Court does not like to stop child support payments and it will allow support to be stopped only if there is proof that you have had very serious problems obtaining your parenting time.

  • Can the child support order include insurance coverage? Category: Child Matters

    A parent may be ordered to pay for the children’s health insurance if it is available through work, a union, or a group. The cost of the insurance coverage may increase or decrease the child support payment, depending on which parent is providing the insurance.

  • Could I get parenting time with my step-child? Category: Child Matters

    Blended families are common today as new spouses often bring one or more children into a marriage, merging two families. Sometimes, the new step-parent becomes the mother- or father-figure for a child, or may be the only mother or father the child has ever known. What happens to these relationships after a divorce? Does the divorce mean a severance of the relationship between a child and step-parent as well?

    The Court of Appeals addressed this issue last year in the case of Van Driesche. In this case, the stepfather sought visitation with the mother’s child, age 4. Stepfather had been the only father the child had known and mother had encouraged a parent-child relationship. The trial court awarded stepfather parenting time, citing the parent-child relationship between step-father and the child. The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s decision and denied the stepfather visitation, citing the mother’s right under the U.S. Constitution to make decisions regarding the associations of her child, with the absence of evidence that the child could be harmed by the mother’s decision. At trial, the stepfather failed to provide evidence, other than his opinion, that the child would be harmed if visitation was not allowed. Without evidence of harm, and in light of evidence showing that the mother and the stepfather at times had a violent relationship, the Court of Appeals found that visitation by the stepfather was not in the best interest of the child.

    This does not mean that no step-parent will ever be awarded visitation. Upon showing that the step-parent and child have a parent-child relationship, and that the child would be subject to a serious risk of harm (emotional or otherwise) if the relationship was not continued, the court may order appropriate visitation to the step-parent. If you are in this situation, you should discuss the specific facts of your case in detail with your attorney.

  • Do I have to make my children go on visits if they don't want to? Category: Child Matters

    Yes, the children need to go on visits that a Court has ordered, even if they don’t want to go. You should try to find out why the children do not want to visit the other parent and work out any problems together or through counseling. Only in rare cases does the Court limit time spent with the other parent.

  • Do I stop paying child support once my child turns 18? Category: Child Matters

    Children are eligible for child support until they reach the age of 21, but special criteria apply for the continuance of child support between the ages of 18 and 21. For child support to be continued during that time period, the child must qualify as a “child attending school.”

    According to Oregon law, a “child attending school” is one between ages 18 and 21 who regularly attends school, community college, college or university, or regularly attends a course of professional or technical training designed to fit the child for gainful employment. The child must be enrolled in at least one-half the normal course load to be considered a child attending school, and must maintain a “C” average or better.

    Additionally, once a child qualifies as a “child attending school,” child support must be paid directly to the child unless the court orders the money to be distributed otherwise. The child may use the child support at his or her discretion. This means that the child is not required to use the money to pay for tuition, books and supplies, but rather can use the money however he or she best judges that it should be spent.

    Both parents should remain actively involved in their child’s education to ensure that child support is being used optimally for the child’s advancement. Parents should advise their child that he or she only qualifies as a “child attending school” if the above criteria are met. Continued receipt of child support will provide added incentive for children to excel academically, and an opportunity to learn to manage finances wisely.

  • Do support payments end with retirement? Category: Child Matters

    When a person paying support retires, the obligation of support does not automatically end. However, depending on the financial circumstances of the parties, a court may decide to terminate or reduce support based upon the good-faith retirement of the paying party. Major factors in deciding whether support should be modified are whether the retiring person’s ability to pay support has changed and whether the needs of the receiving party has changed. If by retiring, the paying party’s income significantly decreases, a reduction or termination of support may be appropriate. If the party receiving support is eligible to receive benefits, the court will examine whether those benefits replace the need for support.

    In order to be eligible for a support modification, the retiring party must retire in good-faith. This means that the person retiring cannot do so for the purpose of avoiding his or her support obligation. A court may examine the circumstances of the retirement, including: age, whether the retirement was voluntary or involuntary, work histories, and the financial resources at the time of retirement. A court would probably find that the retirement of a 63-year-old vice-president of marketing was in good-faith, but would more carefully scrutinize the retirement of a 44-year-old computer programmer. A retirement must make sense under the circumstances.

    The most important consideration is how the retirement affects the parties financially. If retirement does not create a significant change in the ability of the retiring party to pay, or if there is no change in need for the receiving party, the paying party may have to pay support out of his or her retirement benefits. If you or a previous spouse are in this situation or will be in the near future, you should discuss the impact of retirement with your attorney.

  • How are taxes affected by child support obligations? Category: Child Matters

    Child support payments are not treated as income to the party receiving them, nor are they treated as an income deduction to the party making them.

  • How does third-party visitation work? Category: Child Matters

    The burden is fairly substantial for a third-party to be awarded visitation or custody. The court is generally hesitant to intrude on the rights of a parent to make decisions about their child’s upbringing unless the parent is failing to meet the child’s needs.

    If the biological parents are failing to meet the child’s needs, someone who has a parent/child-like relationship with a child may be granted custody or visitation. This happens most often when a third-party, such as a grandparent, has provided a child with housing, food, education, emotional support, and discipline for a period of time immediately preceding the initiation of the divorce.

    Also, the court may allow those who have an ongoing personal relationship with a child to be awarded visitation or contact rights if it is in the child’s best interest. Extended family members more commonly have an ongoing personal relationship, rather than a parent/child relationship, with a child.

  • How is the amount of child support decided? Category: Child Matters

    The State of Oregon uses a formula (often referred to as “child support guidelines”) to determine the amount of child support awarded in each case. The guidelines take into account many factors, such as the income of each parent, other children the parents have to support, and work-related day care costs for the children.

  • How long does the child support have to be paid? Category: Child Matters

    In Oregon, a parent usually must pay child support until the child is eighteen years old. If the child is going to school or job training at least half time and maintains at least a ‘C’ average, the child support can continue to age 21. If the child is physically or mentally handicapped, child support may be extended indefinitely. Child support can end prior to age 18 if the child gets married, joins the military, or becomes legally emancipated.

  • How will the court determine the amount of parenting time the non-custodial parent will receive? Category: Child Matters

    Each case is unique and the amount of parenting time ordered depends on facts such as the age of the children, time and scheduling requirements (based on the school year, for example) and the distance between the parents’ households.

    Parenting time can be divided in a variety of different ways; A parenting plan may provide for visitation on specified days, weekends, holidays, summer and winter vacations, or another arrangement appropriate under the circumstances.

    Parenting time may be limited in cases involving restraining orders. Most counties in Oregon have proposed visitation schedules which they regularly follow. These may be obtained through you at or the court house.

  • If I have legal custody can I move out of Oregon with my children? Category: Child Matters

    The Court may include a provision in the custody/parenting time order requiring that neither parent may move more than sixty miles without giving reasonable notice to the other parent and to the Court. However, the court or your spouse may agree that you can move.

  • If my spouse and I are separated, can I get child support? Category: Child Matters

    Yes. Child support may be requested and awarded as part of a Judgment of Legal Separation.

  • What gets decided in a divorce? Category: Child Matters

    Once the divorce is granted, a Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage is signed by a judge. This Judgment will usually include: the date the marriage ends; awards of spousal support; custody of the children; parenting time schedule; which party is responsible for child support, and the amount; which party shall provide health insurance for the children; and how the assets and liabilities are divided.

  • What happens if child support is not paid? Category: Child Matters

    In Oregon, any occupational or professional license, as well as seasonal hunting and fishing permits, may be suspended if you are at least three months behind, and owe at least $2,500 in back support. This means that your commercial driver’s license, your general driver’s license, a license to practice law or medicine, or even a liquor license could be at stake for suspension.

    The local district attorney’s office can help with child support enforcement. Not only can they help collect child support, they can also move for an administrative modification of support. While the district attorney’s office can be helpful, it is important to remember they do not represent you or your spouse. You may still wish to consult with an attorney to receive advice on your particular situation.

  • What happens when one parent moves away? Category: Child Matters

    It is increasingly common to see divorced parents who are living some distance apart. Oregon does not place many legal restrictions on custodial parents moving with the children. As a result, the custodial parent may move hundreds or even thousands of miles away. This distance may cause great difficulty in effectuating healthy parenting time. It is important to recognize that these problems are not necessarily legal. Some common practical problems include an inability to facilitate transportation due to financial strain or a lack of work schedule flexibility. The age of the children can also create distance-parenting problems. Younger children tend to benefit by frequency rather than duration of parenting time. Older children are often hesitant to miss planned activities in their home towns in exchange for a visit with their parent.

    Many parents have difficulty accepting the solutions to these practicality problems. A good example is the parent who asks for every other weekend when they are living 300 or more miles away. The best solution is usually found in school schedules, which create extended weekends, holidays, and summer vacations. The non-custodial parent may find that their children’s school schedules create windows for visitation opportunities.

    Finding solutions to distance-parenting problems requires sacrifice by both parents. Both need to find motivation in the realization that the transportation burdens are primarily bore by the children, whose only desire is to be with their moms and dads.

  • What if my spouse and I can't agree on custody of our children? Category: Child Matters

    If the parents are unable to come to an agreement regarding custody to one parent and parenting time to the other, the Court will make a custody award as part of the divorce. The Court’s decision will be based upon the “best interests” of the child. This process may involve mediation or a custody and parenting time evaluation.

  • What is a legal separation? Category: Child Matters

    A legal separation, either temporary or for an unlimited time, may be granted when the differences between the parties have caused a temporary breakdown of the marriage. Virtually all issues that could arise in a divorce proceeding could also arise in a separation proceeding. In addition, the costs, fees and procedures are usually the same as in a dissolution case. Unlike a divorce, a legal separation does not terminate the marriage, and additional divorce proceedings are required if the couple decides to end the marriage.

  • What types of custody arrangements are possible? Category: Child Matters

    The court will award custody to the mother or father. Only if both parents agree can the court order joint custody. Joint custody does not necessarily mean a 50/50 split of time with the children. Both parents will cooperate in making decisions regarding the children’s residence, religion, schooling, medical/dental care, etc.

    A parent who does not have “physical” custody of a child is entitled to reasonable parenting time (visitation) with the child and rights. These rights allow the following authority (ORS §107.154):

    1. To inspect and receive school records and to consult with school staff concerning the child’s welfare and education.

    2. To inspect and receive governmental agency and law enforcement records concerning the child to the same extent as the custodial parent.

    3. To consult with any person who may provide care or treatment for the child and to inspect and receive the child’s medical, dental and psychological records to the same extent as the custodial parent.

    4. To authorize emergency medical, dental, psychological, psychiatric or other health care for the child if the custodial parent is, for practical purposes, unavailable.

    5. To apply to be the child’s conservator, guardian ad litem or both.

  • Who must pay the child's health care cost that are not covered by insurance? Category: Child Matters

    The parent with custody must pay the “out-of-pocket” costs unless the child support order states these costs are to be shared with, or paid by, the other parent. The child support guidelines anticipate that the custodial parent will pay the first $250.00 of unreimbursed medical expenses.

  • Who receives parenting time? Category: Child Matters

    The parent who does not have physical custody will have scheduled parenting time with the children, except in unusual situations.

  • Who will be required to pay child support? Category: Child Matters

    Both parents have a legal duty to support the children. The Court can require one or both parents to contribute to the support of the children. Using the guidelines established by the State of Oregon, the formula will consider the available resources, primarily incomes of both parents.

  • Who will get custody of the children? Category: Child Matters

    In a dissolution of marriage proceeding involving children, the main concern of a judge is the best interest and welfare of the children. The property rights and the welfare of adults involved are secondary. The following factors, among others, influence the judge’s decision on custody (ORS §107.137):

    1. The emotional ties between the child and other family members.

    2. The interest of the parties in, and attitude toward, the child.

    3. The desirability of continuing an existing relationship.

    4. The abuse of one parent by the other.

    5. The preference for the primary caregiver of the child, if the caregiver is deemed fit by the court.

    6. The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child.

    Oregon law does not discriminate between mothers and fathers when determining custody.

  • Can I stop allowing parenting time if the other parent stops paying child support? Category: Child Matters

    No. You must give the other parent the parenting time ordered even if child support is not being paid.

  • Can I stop paying child support if the other parent won't let me visit my child? Category: Child Matters

    No. You can go to Court and ask to end the child support order until you receive your parenting time, but you cannot end payments without the Court’s permission. The Court does not like to stop child support payments and it will allow support to be stopped only if there is proof that you have had very serious problems obtaining your parenting time.

  • Can the child support order include insurance coverage? Category: Child Matters

    A parent may be ordered to pay for the children’s health insurance if it is available through work, a union, or a group. The cost of the insurance coverage may increase or decrease the child support payment, depending on which parent is providing the insurance.

  • Do I stop paying child support once my child turns 18? Category: Child Matters

    Children are eligible for child support until they reach the age of 21, but special criteria apply for the continuance of child support between the ages of 18 and 21. For child support to be continued during that time period, the child must qualify as a “child attending school.”

    According to Oregon law, a “child attending school” is one between ages 18 and 21 who regularly attends school, community college, college or university, or regularly attends a course of professional or technical training designed to fit the child for gainful employment. The child must be enrolled in at least one-half the normal course load to be considered a child attending school, and must maintain a “C” average or better.

    Additionally, once a child qualifies as a “child attending school,” child support must be paid directly to the child unless the court orders the money to be distributed otherwise. The child may use the child support at his or her discretion. This means that the child is not required to use the money to pay for tuition, books and supplies, but rather can use the money however he or she best judges that it should be spent.

    Both parents should remain actively involved in their child’s education to ensure that child support is being used optimally for the child’s advancement. Parents should advise their child that he or she only qualifies as a “child attending school” if the above criteria are met. Continued receipt of child support can provide added incentive for children to excel academically, and an opportunity to learn to manage finances wisely.

  • Do support payments end with retirement? Category: Child Matters

    When a person paying support retires, the obligation of support does not automatically end. However, depending on the financial circumstances of the parties, a court may decide to terminate or reduce support based upon the good-faith retirement of the paying party. Major factors in deciding whether support should be modified are whether the retiring person’s ability to pay support has changed and whether the needs of the receiving party has changed. If by retiring, the paying party’s income significantly decreases, a reduction or termination of support may be appropriate. If the party receiving support is eligible to receive benefits, the court will examine whether those benefits replace the need for support.

    In order to be eligible for a support modification, the retiring party must retire in good-faith. This means that the person retiring cannot do so for the purpose of avoiding his or her support obligation. A court may examine the circumstances of the retirement, including: age, whether the retirement was voluntary or involuntary, work histories, and the financial resources at the time of retirement. A court would probably find that the retirement of a 63-year-old vice-president of marketing was in good-faith, but would more carefully scrutinize the retirement of a 44-year-old computer programmer. A retirement must make sense under the circumstances.

    The most important consideration is how the retirement affects the parties financially. If retirement does not create a significant change in the ability of the retiring party to pay, or if there is no change in need for the receiving party, the paying party may have to pay support out of his or her retirement benefits. If you or a previous spouse are in this situation or will be in the near future, you should discuss the impact of retirement with your attorney.

  • How are taxes affected by child support obligations? Category: Child Matters

    Child support payments are not treated as income to the party receiving them, nor are they treated as an income deduction to the party making them.

  • How does third-party visitation work? Category: Child Matters

    The burden is fairly substantial for a third-party to be awarded visitation or custody. The court is generally hesitant to intrude on the rights of a parent to make decisions about their child’s upbringing unless the parent is failing to meet the child’s needs.

    If the biological parents are failing to meet the child’s needs, someone who has a parent/child-like relationship with a child may be granted custody or visitation. This happens most often when a third-party, such as a grandparent, has provided a child with housing, food, education, emotional support, and discipline for a period of time immediately preceding the initiation of the divorce.

    Also, the court may allow those who have an ongoing personal relationship with a child to be awarded visitation or contact rights if it is in the child’s best interest. Extended family members more commonly have an ongoing personal relationship, rather than a parent/child relationship, with a child.

  • How is the amount of child support decided? Category: Child Matters

    The State of Oregon uses a formula (often referred to as “child support guidelines”) to determine the amount of child support awarded in each case. The guidelines take into account many factors, such as the income of each parent, other children the parents have to support, and work-related day care costs for the children.

  • Category: Child Matters