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Child Custody
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Oregon Child Custody

Parents who are getting divorced will, as part of their divorce proceedings, need to reach mutual agreement on issues related to child custody, parenting time and child support. Unmarried parents will have to go to Oregon Circuit Court to get these agreements approved. Each parent should be represented by his or her own child custody attorney, who can explain the parent's legal responsibilities and help ensure the parent's rights are protected.

Child Custody Law

In Oregon, child custody is split into two pieces: Legal custody and parenting time.

According to the Oregon State Bar, "Custody determinations decide who will have decision-making authority for the minor child, while parenting time concerns when the child will be in the care of each parent."

Legal custody can be either joint (meaning it's shared by both parents) or it can be the sole (meaning one parent has decision-making authority).

Parenting time establishes how a child's time is split between each parent. (In some states this may be known as physical custody and visitation.)

Your child custody lawyer can help you negotiate a child custody and parenting time agreement, and represent you in court.

If parents cannot reach a custody decision, then the judge will make a ruling based on the best interests of the child. In most cases, Oregon courts prefer to award joint custody unless joint custody would be harmful to the child.


If a child is born to unmarried parents, then either parent will have to establish paternity of the child before a judge will rule on issues related to custody, parenting time and child support. There are several ways to establish parentage:

  • Sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity at the hospital
  • Sign a notarized Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity affidavit after leaving the hospital
  • Obtain a legal order from the Division of Child Support
  • Obtain a court order

Child Support

Child support in Oregon is calculated based on the combined income of the parents, the financial needs of the child and the amount of time the child spends with each parent. The court is allowed to deviate from the child support guidelines if the calculation is inappropriate in a particular case.

Child support can also be adjusted based on a change in circumstances. These would include:

  • A significant change in one parent's income
  • A change in which parent the child spends more time with
  • A change in the child's financial needs (such as extraordinary medical or educational expenses)

Find & Hire Local Oregon Child Custody Attorneys

Child custody, parenting time and child support decisions can have a long-lasting effect on both parents and their children. That's why it's essential for each parent to be represented by his or her own family law attorney. Need help locating a lawyer in your area? Let help you. Our free legal referral service can quickly connect you with lawyers in Portland, Eugene or elsewhere in Oregon. Complete the form on this page to get started, or call us at 877-913-7222.