What happens if a parent does not pay court-ordered child support?

Parents have a legal obligation to financially support the child. When parents are in a relationship, they typically take care of their child as a part of the family unit. However, parents who are divorced may need a court to determine custody and financial support of the child. If the court gives custody to one parent, the non-custodial parent has to pay child-support.

Every state has its own laws to govern child support. Child support is payment that the non-custodial parent pays to the custodial parent. The court calculates the support on the basis of the income of each parent and other state specific factors. When a court orders child support, it is a legal verdict that the paying parent must follow.

In Oregon, if a parent does not pay their child support, the custodial parent may enforce the child support order by going to court or filing a claim with the Oregon Child Support Program. The Program can enforce the child support order by collecting the owing parent’s tax refund, suspend their driver’s license and garnish their wages. A judge may even find that the parent owing the support knew they were violating the child support order and find him in contempt of court.

Washington requires its state court to order child support in a divorce or legal separation. One or both parents may have to pay. Under state law, the defaulting parent may be found in contempt of court for failing to pay child support. The contempt ruling may stay in effect until the paying parent satisfies the child support order by paying current and back payments. Washington treats child support debts as liens against the owing parent’s real and personal property. Like Oregon, the Washington child support agency has the authority to garnish wages, place liens on property, seize vehicles, and suspend passports and driver’s license.

To schedule a consultation with one of our family law attorneys in Oregon or SW Washington, call us now at 503.222.9116 or write us.

Andrew Newsom

Andrew Newsom

Andy is a partner at Gearing Rackner & McGrath. He has practiced family law exclusively since 2010 and is licensed to practice in Oregon. Andrew has high-level experience in all areas of family law. Although he is stimulated by trial advocacy, his first priority is to provide his clients with creative and efficient solutions without unneeded expense.

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