Getting Child Custody in Oregon

In the state of Oregon, once paternity has been confirmed, the laws on custody and parenting time are the same for both married and unmarried parents. The state of Oregon puts the best interests of the child first, and neither mother nor father has an advantage in custody cases.

The state also believes that minor children should have continued and frequent interaction with both parents when appropriate. This encourages both parents to share in the rights and responsibilities in raising a child after a divorce or legal separation. However, this isn’t always an option or in the best interests of the child. That’s why the state has two common types of child custody.

Joint Custody

Oregon defines joint legal custody as the sharing of parental decisions about care, control, education, health, and residence of a minor child. Parents share in the raising and responsibilities of the child, regardless of how much time that child spends or lives with one parent or the other. In many cases, the child does not need to spend their time equally between parents. It may not be appropriate for that to occur, and sometimes a child may spend most or all of their time with one parent. 

Joint custody cannot be awarded unless both parents agree to the system.

Sole Custody

As the name suggests, sole custody is defined in Oregon as one parent making all of the major decisions surrounding caring for and raising a child. The singular parent makes decisions on health, education, religion, housing, and more. In sole custody cases, the sole parent will spend the majority of the time with the child, with some visitation allowed on a case-to-case basis.

Parenting Time

Parenting time is when the child will be cared for by each parent. These plans are either developed and agreed to by the parents, or are directed by a court order. Each plan has to spell out the minimum amount of time each parent will spend with their child. Plans for parenting time are often developed in mediation, and require the assistance of an attorney. If the parents cannot come to a satisfactory agreement, the court will assign a parenting time plan.

In Oregon, both parents are granted the right to access a child’s medical, school, dental, criminal, and counseling records, whether they have custody or not. This allows both parents to authorize emergency care in most cases. Generally, parenting time plans in Oregon restrict parents from moving the child more than 60 miles from the other parent without the consent of the other parent beforehand. Parenting plans are flexible, and can be modified if the changes are for the best for the child.

Custody Studies

If the parents cannot come to an agreement about a parenting time plan, or cannot settle on joint or sole custody, the court may order a custody study. These studies are carried out by a trained counselor or psychologist to evaluate each parent and their ability to care for a child. These studies are then passed to the judge to inform their decision. Generally, a custody study is only conducted if one or both of the parents can afford the cost of a study, and the judge can order one or both parents to pay. 

Connect With a Family Attorney In Bend Now

If you’re entering a custody case, don’t let the courts determine who gets to care for your child. Working with a skilled family attorney can help ensure that your child gets the care that they need. At Donahue Law Firm, you’ll find a team of experienced attorneys ready to help. Call us today and schedule your low-cost consultation: 541-241-6657