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8 Things to Know About Oregon Custody Laws



Oregon custody laws help determine which parent has custody rights over a child. These rights enable parents to make decisions regarding the child's upbringing and determine with whom the child will live.

If you are involved in a custody dispute, you will want to know about Oregon custody laws. This article will explain eight things you should know about these laws. If you have further questions, you should contact an Oregon custody lawyer near you.

1. Oregon Custody Law Does Not Favor Either Parent

Some people believe that the child custody process favors the child's mother. This is not true. Fathers' rights in Oregon are viewed as equal to mothers' rights.

Instead, according to Oregon custody law, courts largely base their decisions on what is in the best interests of the child.

For example, if the mother has a history of committing domestic abuse, the father may have a higher likelihood of receiving sole custody.

2. Oregon Custody Courts May Require Mediation

According to Oregon custody law, the state's circuit courts hear all custody cases. These courts are separated by county, and each county can have slightly different rules regarding the custody process.

In some counties, parents are required to negotiate the parenting plan in mediation. Mediation is a confidential process where the parents attempt to create a parenting plan on their own. The mediation is overseen by an impartial third-party mediator.

If you want to know whether your county's circuit court requires mediation, talk to a Oregon custody lawyer near you.

3. Custody Orders Cannot Be Changed Without Court Approval

In Oregon, fighting for child custody ends when a judge signs a child custody order. This order will specify which parents have what type of custody, child visitation rights and child support obligations.

Even if the parents make an agreement out of court after the order has been signed, the agreement will not be viewed as legal. Instead, to alter the child custody order, a parent will have to file a motion requesting modification of the order.

4. The Basics of Legal Custody in Oregon

There are two types of custody that can be awarded under Oregon custody law. One of these is legal custody

Legal custody provides a parent or parents with the ability to make decisions regarding the child's upbringing. This includes decisions regarding medical care and education.

Oregon judges are in favor of granting legal custody to both parents. However, it may not be in the best interests of the child to award legal custody to both parents. For example, if one parent has a history of abuse, the court will likely award legal custody to one parent.

5. The Basics of Physical Custody in Oregon

The other type of custody is physical custody.

Physical custody refers to which parent the child lives with. The parent who has physical custody of the child is referred to as the custodial parent. The other parent is the non-custodial parent.

6. The Basics of Oregon Child Support

The court can order the non-custodial parent to pay the custodial parent child support. Child support is money that is intended to help finance the raising of the child.

Child support is calculated according to the Oregon child support guidelines. If you have questions about how much you may owe in child support, you should contact a Oregon custody attorney. You can also use the Oregon child support calculator.

7. The Basics of Oregon Parenting Time

The court may award the non-custodial parent visitation rights, or parenting time. This means the non-custodial parent can spend quality time with his child during certain designated times. Visitation may be supervised depending on the court's order.

The non-custodial parent's visitation rights will depend on what the court deems is in the best interests of the child. Generally, Oregon courts favor granting some level of visitation rights to the non-custodial parent. However, this may not be the case if the parent has a history of committing domestic abuse.

8. Several Factors Affect Child Custody Decisions

Under Oregon custody law, if mediation is unsuccessful, a judge will have to make a custody determination.

Whether you are disputing child custody in Portland, Eugene, Salem or another area of Oregon, the custody court will use the same factors.

The main factor the court considers is what is in the best interests of the child. Aside from this, a judge may also take into account:

  • If a parent has a history of committing domestic abuse
  • Fitness of the primary caregiver
  • Whether the parents can cooperate to support each other's parent-child relationship
  • Whether to maintain the child's current arrangements
  • The parents' attitudes and interest toward the child
  • Emotional relationships between the child and family