Call us: 503-255-8795
How Is Child Custody Determined in an Oregon Divorce?

How Is Child Custody Determined in an Oregon Divorce?

Child custody is not a decision that any court takes lightly. The specifics of custody law vary by state, but the child’s best interest is always the most important thing. How does Oregon law determine which custody is in the best interest of the child or children? Ultimately, it’s whatever will best benefit the child and where they will be most safe, stable, happy, and healthy. But what factors help the court determine this? Read on below to find out more.

What is a Parenting Plan?

A parenting plan establishes how divorced or separated (if never married) parents will handle the decisions involved in child-rearing for a child they share, which the court will then confirm. These plans usually include outlines of holidays and vacation schedules, how information is shared between parents, when a child resides with each parent, and how disputes will be resolved.

In Oregon, most parenting plans must also include a requirement about moving. Per this requirement, a parent can only move up to 60 miles away without informing the other parent and the courts first. 

In some cases, parents agree on the details of the parenting plan, and the court only needs to get involved in ratifying the plan. In other cases, parents can not work together on the parenting plan, and the court needs to get more involved.

How is Custody Determined?

While physical custody is a significant part of parenting plan cases, it’s not the only part. Legal custody is another portion, referring to decision-making regarding education, primary care physicians, and other major choices that arise while raising a child.

When it comes to legal custody, joint custody is where both parents share the decision-making. In Oregon, a judge will only sign off on joint custody if both parents agree. If either parent objects to joint custody, the court will determine which parent gets sole custody.

Sole custody gives one parent the power to make decisions, but this arrangement usually still includes a split of time each parent spends with the child. Both parents would usually still have access to the child’s health, education, and government records and be able to make emergency medical calls. 

If the court deems it necessary, the parent without custody may have specific limitations placed. These could include court-supervised visits only or no visitation at all.

What are the Determining Factors for Custody in Oregon?

A Portland, Oregon, divorce lawyer will guide you through the ins and outs of the state’s laws, including factors that determine custody decisions in Oregon specifically. Here’s a breakdown of factors the court considers, as stated in Oregon Statue 107.137

  • The emotional bond between the child and family members. The child’s relationship with other family members, such as grandparents, will be a factor in determining custody. Oregon judges are typically reluctant to separate siblings.
  • The interest of the parties in/attitude towards the child. Your divorce lawyer must effectively show that the child is the number one priority in a parent’s life.
  • Which parent is the primary caregiver of the child. The primary caregiver can be determined by who takes the child to activities, who regularly attends physician and dental appointments, who bathes and feeds the child, etc.
  • The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a continuing relationship between the other parent and the child. The health and safety of the child is always the most important deciding factor. 
  • If one of the parents committed abuse. In this case, custody will not be awarded to that parent for the child’s safety, health, and emotional well-being. Also, the courts will consider if one parent has a history of violence, drug abuse, criminal activity, or neglect. 

 Some other factors may include:

  • The child’s preference. Children can communicate their wishes, but because they are under 18, they will not have a legal say. 
  • Child’s age and gender.
  • Access to education options, opportunities, and resources.
  • Stability of each parent’s home. 
  • How much of an adjustment the child would have to make to shuttle back and forth to each parent’s house.
  • The testimony of expert witnesses, including psychologists, social workers, and physicians. 

What are some exceptions?

  • The parent’s income, social environment, and lifestyle will only be considered if it negatively impacts the child’s well-being.
  • There is no preference or bias based on the parent’s gender. 
  • A parent’s disability, unless it directly affects the child’s care. Mental disabilities or a disability that prevents a parent from being able to care for the child will be considered appropriately.

How Can a Portland, Oregon Divorce Lawyer Help with Child Custody?

Child custody has many aspects, so it will only help to have legal expertise in your corner. By consulting with a lawyer, you can discuss and figure out what you hope the custody arrangement’s outcome will be. Lawyers can also represent you in determining child support. Together, you’ll create a plan to achieve those goals.

If you don’t want to go to court, your lawyer can work to do everything possible to come to a resolution. If you must go to court, your lawyer can prepare you for the process. Even if both parents agree on a parenting plan, you should have a lawyer review the documents before anything is officially filed. Family law attorneys have experience creating these plans and will include what’s necessary, and help you avoid any pitfalls.

You’ll want to work with family law experts when navigating child custody cases. Our Warren Allen family law attorneys are some of the top-rated and most experienced divorce lawyers in Portland, Oregon. We’ll work hard for you to ensure the court determines the best custody arrangement for your child. Visit our website for more information about our Portland, Oregon divorce lawyers at Warren Allen LLP. If you have any questions or are interested in scheduling a consult, call or contact us via the website.

divorce lawyer portland oregon, Family Law Attorney, lawyers in portland oregon, Portland Attorney

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *