Gresham, OR asked in Family Law and Child Support for Oregon

Q: Can my ex get back child support when there has never been a support order. I just heard from her after 10 years.

She left 10 years ago with my 2 kids (one child Im not sure about paternity). I had no idea where she was until yesterday, Now she says she wants support, and that Im going to owe her for the past ten years unless we come to some agreement. We were never married. She is married and living in Oklahoma. I am not against paying some support but there has never been any support order ever between us.

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

A: Generally speaking she would only be able to get child support from the date that you are served with papers to establish child support and going forward. That's what normally happens although there may be some exception that I am not aware of. Since this would likely be handled by the child support office of the district Attorney's office in the county where you live there may be a way to discretely contact them and find out what they normally do. Maybe have a friend or your Attorney do this.

I have seen situations where the Oregon Department of Justice establishes child support and paternity where they ask for retroactive support including the medical costs related to the birth of the baby. This is usually tied to the fact that the mother was on welfare and had medicaid for her and the child's medical expenses and the Department of Justice is charged with seeking reimbursement from the father for the monies that the State of Oregon spent supporting the child. If you were dealing with that type of situation it would have happened already because the mother has to assign her right to collect support as a condition of getting the financial and medical benefits when she applies.

You might want to make an appointment and talk to an Attorney about the situation and what you want to do going forward. Either parent can seek to get child support established through a State child support agency. Here in Oregon you could contact the District Attorney's office in the county where you live as they will have a child support division. Likewise there will be some office in Oklahoma, possibly a district Attorney's office, that the mother can contact. But either way some agency will work with the Agency in the other State to establish child support as there is an interstate compact that allows this. There is no charge for this service. However be advised that they don't offer free services that establish custody and visitation so you will need to hire an Attorney in Oklahoma or figure out if there are DYI forms in the Oklahoma courts where you can request some form of court ordered visitation.

Because you live in Oregon any child support proceeding against you will be in Oregon so you can talk to an Oregon Attorney about that. Because the mother and the children live in Oklahoma, only an Oklahoma court can make orders regarding custody and visitation. So for that part of the issue, contact an Attorney in Oklahoma. (An Attorney in Oklahoma could also help you with the support issue if you are willing to submit to the jurisdiction of the Oklahoma court voluntarily. But you might want to check first to see if the rules for establishing child support in Oklahoma are less favorable then Oregon's rules.)

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