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Letter to the Oregon Child Support Program, Part II

I believe the use of the term, “child support” to be incongruent with the practices of the Oregon Child Support Program and the State of Oregon for the following reasons:

1) There is no defaulting enforcement or interest from your department or the State to ensure that the money your department collects is spent on the child. There is apparently an assumption that the money is spent on the child, while there is a much bigger emphasis on collecting the money and delivering it to the obligee. In this current set of laws, we have an inequity of accountability.

2) There is no avenue or mechanism available to the obligor to spend the money owed to the obligee directly on the child.

3) The child is never informed by any government department that the obligor is sending money to the child on a recurring basis.

4) There is no avenue available to the non-custodial parent to insist that the payments are voluntary and not garnished by the State, regardless of a timely and documented payment history.

5) The term “child support” produces a strong emotional response from the general public. Strong emotional responses do not encourage logical and productive thinking which are essential for successful parenting.

For these reasons, I insist that your program and the State of Oregon consider using the term “Parenting Income Modifier” instead of “Child Support.” Changing the name away from “child support” is a first step in not only being congruent with the laws that are now in place, but also in changing public perception about what is actually being practiced by the family courts. I would be happy to use the term “child support” if the State ensured the money collected was spent on the child.

Thank you for your consideration and time.

\\cc: Sen. Jeff Merkley, Sen. Ron Wyden, Rep. David Wu, Oregon Department of Justice