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Can I get full custody if I owe child support?

Gresham, OR |

I am trying to get full custody of my kids from my ex but I owe her child support because she has been paying for their health insurance. I cant pay her support right now because I don't have a job. Currently we have 50/50 but nothing has been established but a status quo but I want full custody and more then 50/50 time. Can she keep paying for their health insurance if I get the full custody?

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Best Answer

Jay is absolutely right regarding the law in your situation. That said, as a practical matter, judges tend to disfavor parents that haven't been paying their support absent a really good reason. It would also probably be better from a strategic point of view to acquire a new job before you begin stirring up the hornets nest. Without knowing more about your case it is impossible to determine what your chances however. It sounds like you would benefit from a sit-down with an attorney to ascertain the lay of the land. Good luck, -Jeff


Yes, in theory, child support and legal custody are not connected. Nothing stops a court from ordering a parent to receive legal custody of a child even if they currently owe child support. Likewise, a parent who doesn't have primary legal custody can still provide health insurance for the children, either directly or by paying 'cash medical support' as a type of child support. The legal standard for custody decisions is the best interests of the children. You can read more about these laws here:

Please read the following notice: <br> <br> Jay Bodzin is licensed to practice law in the State of Oregon and the Federal District of Oregon, and cannot give advice about the laws of other jurisdictions. All comments on this site are intended for informational purposes only, and do not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Each case is unique. You are advised to have counsel at all stages of any legal proceeding, and to speak with your own lawyer in private to get advice about your specific situation. <br> <br> Jay Bodzin, Northwest Law Office, 2075 SW First Avenue, Suite 2J, Portland, OR 97201 | Telephone: 503-227-0965 | Facsimile: 503-345-0926 | Email: | Online:


Whether or not you get full custody will NOT be determined by whether or not you owe child support. It will be determined based on the best interest of the children. Yes, the court is still likely to require her to continue providing health insurance.

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