Laws for Breaching Divorce Orders in Oregon

By Cindy Chung

After an Oregon court issues divorce orders or approves a divorce settlement negotiated by the spouses, both parties must follow the established terms. However, a court order does not always guarantee both parties' compliance. An ex-spouse might breach the terms of a divorce by failing to follow court orders related to financial support, child custody and other legal issues. If one party violates a court order, the other party can often seek help with enforcement through the courts.

Enforcement of Divorce Settlement Terms

If spouses negotiated a settlement agreement as part of their divorce judgment, either spouse may need enforcement help if the other spouse breaches the agreement. Oregon divorce laws specifically allow either ex-spouse to file a motion with the court to request enforcement of the settlement agreement according to the contract laws of the state. Either ex-spouse may also request that the court find the other party to be in contempt of court for violating the terms of the divorce judgment. In addition, a party can request that the court modify or vacate the settlement terms that have caused problems between the ex-spouses since their divorce.

Enforcement of Child Support or Alimony

When an ex-spouse fails to pay child support or alimony ordered by the court in a divorce, Oregon state laws allow the other spouse to request a wage withholding order. If granted, a wage withholding order requires direct deductions from the ex-spouse's wages to pay the amounts owed for child support and alimony. A parent can ask for enforcement help and request a wage withholding order through the Oregon Department of Justice Division of Child Support. Alternatively, a party may also request a wage withholding order through the same court that handled the original case for divorce.

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Other Consequences of Failure to Pay

If an ex-spouse breaches the child support or alimony terms from the divorce agreement or judgment, Oregon state laws establish other enforcement options in addition to wage withholding. The court may approve an order for a tax intercept that takes the tax refunds owed to the person who has fallen behind on alimony or child support. The court might also require the suspension of the non-compliant parent's driver's license until the parent pays some of the money owed. In addition, the court can issue an order to place a lien on the non-compliant parent's property to generate funds through an eventual sale of the property.

Enforcement of Child Custody Arrangement

If spouses received a custody order, known in Oregon as a parenting plan, as part of their divorce, each spouse must follow the parenting plan unless the court approves a change. If a parent fails to follow the parenting plan by prolonging visits or by preventing the other parent from spending time with the child, the other parent can file a motion to enforce the parenting plan. The state court must set a date to review the alleged violation within 45 days of the filing date. If the court agrees that a parent has breached the parenting plan, the court may change the existing plan, add more parenting time to one parent's schedule, require parent education classes or impose other consequences as allowed by state law.

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