When a parent pays child support as ordered by the court, he or she may feel entitled to visitation. On the other hand, a parent who does not receive child support from the other parent may want to limit visitation.
In both cases, it is important to understand how child support affects child custody and visitation in Oregon.
Child support and joint custody
Oregon can order one parent to pay child support even when parents share 50/50 custody. Usually, one parent has physical custody and the other has visitation with the child. Typically, the parent who spends less time with the child will pay child support. Without a legal child custody order in place, both parents have an equal right to physical custody of their children, regardless of financial support.
Visitation and unpaid child support
Both parents have a legal obligation to follow the Oregon child custody order. The custodial parent cannot deny scheduled visitation to the other parent for any reason, even if he or she has not paid court-ordered child support. Doing so can result in contempt of court charges. The judge can order legal penalties for the custodial parent until visitation resumes. The parent denied visitation can also ask the court to discontinue the child support order until visitation resumes. However, he or she must have detailed documentation about denial of parenting time.
Ideally, parents can work together to agree on a fair parenting time arrangement. If issues arise with either child custody or visitation, either parent can return to court to request a modification. If financial circumstances change, the court may modify the child support order.