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The Basics of Oregon Child Custody Law



Oregon child support laws and child custody law can be quite complex. If you anticipate a custody issue or are in the midst of a dispute, you should educate yourself on Oregon child custody law. You can also seek out the assistance of an experienced child custody lawyer. A custody lawyer can assess your case and inform you of your legal options.

This article will explain the basics of Oregon child custody law. Understand that different Oregon courts may have slightly different rules. If you have any questions regarding the rules of your court, contact an Oregon child custody lawyer. You will want to seek out an attorney who has experience with child custody cases in your area.

To find an attorney, you can fill out the form on this site or call 1-877-913-7222. Whether you are disputing child custody in Portland, Eugene, Salem or another part of the state, Attorneys.com can connect you to at least one custody lawyer near you.

Oregon Child Custody Courts

In Oregon, the state's circuit courts hear all child custody cases.

Each county has its own circuit court. For example, if Lane County has jurisdiction over your child custody case, you would file your case with the Lane County Circuit Court.

If you are not sure which court has jurisdiction over your child custody case, you should seek guidance from an Oregon child custody attorney.

Types of Custody under Oregon Child Custody Law

There are two types of custody parents can seek under Oregon child custody law. They are:

  • Legal custody: This type of custody allows a parent to make decisions regarding the child's upbringing. This includes healthcare and education decisions.
  • Physical custody: The type of custody determines whom the child will live with.

Usually, Oregon courts will attempt to provide legal custody to both parents. When both parents receive custody of a child, it is known as joint custody. However, if there is reason for the court to believe it is in the best interests of the child for only one parent to have legal custody, it will award sole custody.

If only one parent has physical custody of a child, the parent with custody is known as the custodial parent. The other parent is known as the non-custodial parent. A non-custodial parent can seek visitation rights. The non-custodial parent will also likely have to pay child support to the custodial parent to help finance the child's upbringing.

How Is Oregon Child Custody Determined?

In some Oregon counties, parents are required to try to resolve their custody dispute in mediation. Mediation is a confidential meeting between the parents that is overseen by a third-party, impartial mediator. Mediation provides parents with an opportunity to resolve their child custody dispute outside of court. This helps reduce costs for both parties and empower them to make decisions regarding the care of their child.

If the parents agree on a parenting plan, it will be filed with the court. A judge will then review the plan. If approved, he will then enter an order binding both parents to the agreement.

If the parents cannot come up with a plan or if mediation is not required, they will go to trial to hash out the details of their parenting plan.

At trial, a judge will determine who is to be awarded custody based on what is in the best interests of the child. In disputes regarding Oregon child custody, a dad and a mother are viewed equally. This means a child's father is not automatically at a disadvantage.

In addition to what is best for the child, a judge may weigh the following factors:

  • Emotional relationships between the child and family
  • Whether there have been incidents of domestic abuse
  • Parents' attitudes and interest toward the child
  • Whether to maintain the child's current arrangements
  • Fitness of the primary caregiver
  • Whether the parents can cooperate and support each other's parent-child relationships

Under Oregon child custody law, once a judge signs a child custody order, both parents are legally bound by it. Even if they make a casual agreement outside of court, it will not be considered legal. To alter the child custody order, one of the parents must file a motion requesting modification.