Eugene, OR asked in Child Custody, Child Support and Family Law for Oregon

Q: my daughter agreed to 50-50 custody when she left her childens father, tried to change to 60-40 now gets nothing.

when my daughter tried to gain more custody time so she can benefit from TANf and get job search assistance and a decent amount of child support, the child support office cut her off to zero support stating they both earn minimum wage. she doesn't have a job. he is a contractor and is not providing all the wage information. he earns well above minimum wage, has 3 cars and can by whatever he wants as well as go on vacations. she has lived with me with no money, no education, no transportation, no clothing or skills for job search or child care and has no way to ever get out on her own. how can they say she is earning money when she isn't and why are they not asking him for proof of income such as tax returns? this is beyond ludicrous. she is getting stomped on and has no rights. asking for more parenting time and a decent amount of support and she ends up with nothing at all. this is how Oregon takes care of single mothers who need help? the kids want to be with her more as well.

1 Lawyer Answer
Joanne Reisman
Joanne Reisman
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Portland, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: There appears to be some confusion here. DHS which administers welfare, TANF and other benefits for low income people has nothing to do with setting or collecting child support. I don't have expertise in how they calculate income so I would suggest you go with your daughter to the field office and find out why they don't think she is eligible for TANF. I suspect that the social worker is confused as to how child support is calculated. Often times the non-working parent will be assigned "minimum wage" on the calculation sheet because it is presumed that the parent can get a job and work for minimum wage. It is not proof that she is working, just an assumption that is used for the child support calculation.

The child support, parenting time, and any investigation into the father's income needs to be determined in a court proceeding. Your daughter should hire an attorney to help her. She can go down to the courthouse and get an application to modify parenting time and child support and file it to start the proceeding. The problem will be that she will need to prove her ex's income so that may require getting help from an Attorney to know how to force her ex to disclose his proof of income such as tax returns. You use what is known as discovery, and you sent a list to the other side requesting these documents. There is a list of required discover that is given out when people file divorce at the courthouse. I would suggest asking the court clerk for this list and using it as a template to create your own discovery request to send to her ex. If he does't comply you will have to file a motion with the court to compel him to produce this information. All of this has to be done before there is a hearing.

She can alternatively go to the district attorney's office, the child support division, and ask them to modify the child support. They will do this at no charge if it has been a while since there support was last reviewed by a court. They won't however assist with modifying custody or parenting time.

She should probably consult with an attorney to figure this out.

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