Child Custody

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The emotional toll of stress related to any family law issue, , including an Oregon child custody, can be exhausting without litigation. Let us take care of the law. You take care of you.
With Pacific Family Law Firm, you can expect a lot.

1. Talk to Lawyers

In most firms it is the staff that handles the bulk of your case. You end up dealing with paralegals, assistants, or clerks instead of the lawyer you signed up with. At Pacific Family Law Firm, assistants may handle paperwork and occasional informational calls, but most of the time you will be working with your actual trial attorney.

2. Streamlined Representation

Our office and divorce lawyers have built the firm from the ground up with efficiency in mind. Paperless, custom-built data centers for instant access to all file information, and flexible communication by phone, email, and even secure instant messaging. We want you to be able to participate as part of the team in your case.

3. Honest Assessment of Case

Far too many divorce and family law "mills" are simply out to settle your case as fast as possible so they can move on the next one. Pacific Family Law Firm was founded by attorneys who are used to the courtroom and don't run from it. If getting you the right result means taking the matter to a trial, we will do it. If you are ready for a trial, we won't back down either.

Child Custody?

Our attorneys are ready to help with your child custody case.

Oregon Child Custody Law - What’s It About?

The term “child custody” carries a lot of weight in our society. It tends to be an emotional topic, and parents often find themselves in protracted conflict trying to determine who should be the custodial parent, whether in court or on their own.

Depending on the circumstance, custody of the child may not make as much difference as the parents initially believe or maybe nearly moot.

The term “custody” refers to final decision-making or “tie-breaking” authority over a select group of issues. The custodial parent will have the final determination in three significant areas of a child’s life: the school they go to (education), what medical treatment they receive (health care), and what religious training they receive. Parents who can work together to make these significant decisions may choose to agree to “joint custody” where both parents make the decisions together. See Oregon Child Custody: Sole vs. Joint, What’s the Difference?

If parents are unable to agree to joint custody, the court must award sole custody to one of the parents. In court, a judge will review factors that are set out in Oregon law: which parent has acted as the primary caregiver for the children; which parent is best able facilitate a relationship between the children and the other parent; the emotional ties between the child and other members of the family; if there is any abuse by one parent towards the other parent or a child; each parent’s general interest and attitude regarding the children; and finally, the desirability of continuing existing relationships. These factors may be reviewed explicitly in Oregon law at ORS 107.137.

Custody is Complicated

Sometimes people can make these complicated decisions on their own and don’t need the court’s help. However, if it goes to court, property laying the foundation and proper framework to present evidence to win custody is critical. You are going to want the best Oregon child custody lawyer you can find working on your behalf.

Contact one of our Portland, Oregon divorce and custody lawyers today to set up a consultation.

A paper cutoout of a family walking into a sunset with a gavel in the background denoting Oregon family law services.

Child Custody
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

How is child custody determined in Oregon?
Child custody decisions are based on the statutory requirements listed at ORS 107.137. These requirements include the best interests of the child, considering factors like emotional bonds with parents and siblings, abuse by one parent, stability of home environment, and each parent's ability to meet the child's needs.
What is the difference between joint and sole custody?
Joint custody refers to both parents sharing legal decision-making responsibilities for a child, while sole custody gives one parent full authority over major decisions affecting the child. These decisions are largely limited to non-emergency medical decisions, education, and religious training. Physical custody (where the child resides) can also be shared or granted solely to one parent.
Can I modify an existing custody order?
Yes, you can petition to modify an existing custody order if there has been a significant change in circumstances since it was issued. Some examples include relocation, changes in a parent's lifestyle or living situation, or concerns about a child's welfare.
What factors are considered when deciding parenting time?
Parenting time (also known as visitation) is determined based on what is best for a child's growth and development. Factors include: maintaining consistency in routines; each parent’s work schedule; distance between residences; age and needs of the child; and input from older children.
How does relocation impact existing custody arrangements?
Relocation can significantly impact existing custody arrangements. If you plan to move out-of-state or even within Oregon but far from your current residence, you may need to request a modification of your current parenting plan with court approval.
How is child support calculated?
Child support in Oregon is calculated using a formula that considers both parents' incomes, parenting time, and additional expenses such as childcare and health insurance costs. The Oregon Child Support Guidelines provide a framework for determining the amount of support each parent should contribute.
What happens if a parent refuses to pay court-ordered child support?
A parent who fails to pay court-ordered child support can face serious consequences including wage garnishment, tax refund interception, suspension of licenses (drivers or professional), and even jail time for contempt of court.
Can grandparents obtain legal rights for visitation with their grandchildren?
In some cases, grandparents may petition for visitation rights with their grandchildren under specific circumstances such as when one or both parents are deceased or unable to care for the child. However, grandparents must prove that visitation is in the best interest of the child.

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Useful Oregon Statutes For
Child Custody

Ex Parte Temporary Custody Or Parenting Time Orders

ORS 107.097(2)


(a) A party may apply to a court for a temporary protective order of restraint by filing with the court an affidavit or a declaration under penalty of perjury in the form required by ORCP 1 E, conforming to the requirements of ORS 109.767. (b) Upon receipt of an application under this subsection, the court may issue a temporary protective order of restraint restraining and enjoining each party from:

(A) Changing the child’s usual place of residence;

(B) Interfering with the present placement and daily schedule of the child;

(C) Hiding or secreting the child from the other party;

(D) Interfering with the other party’s usual contact and parenting time with the child;

(E) Leaving the state with the child without the written permission of the other party or the permission of the court; or

(F) In any manner disturbing the current schedule and daily routine of the child until custody or parenting time has been determined.

Read Full Text: ORS 107.097

Parenting Plan

(1) In any proceeding to establish or modify a judgment providing for parenting time with a child, except for matters filed under ORS 107.700 (Short title) to 107.735 (Duties of State Court Administrator), there shall be developed and filed with the court a parenting plan to be included in the judgment. A parenting plan may be either general or detailed.

(2) A general parenting plan may include a general outline of how parental responsibilities and parenting time will be shared and may allow the parents to develop a more detailed agreement on an informal basis. However, a general parenting plan must set forth the minimum amount of parenting time and access a noncustodial parent is entitled to have.

(3) A detailed parenting plan may include, but need not be limited to, provisions relating to:

(a) Residential schedule;

(b) Holiday, birthday and vacation planning;

(c) Weekends, including holidays, and school in-service days preceding or following weekends;

(d) Decision-making and responsibility;

(e) Information sharing and access;

(f) Relocation of parents;

(g) Telephone access;

(h) Transportation; and

(i) Methods for resolving disputes.

Read Full Text: ORS 107.102

Provisions Of Judgment

ORS 107.105 is a huge statute that provides detailed provisions governing not only the provisions of a divorce or separation judgment but also provisions regarding attorney fees. Rather than quote select parts, the statute may be reviewed in its entirety at the link below.

Read Full Text: ORS 107.105

Vacation Or Modification Of Judgment

(1) The court may at any time after a judgment of annulment or dissolution of marriage or of separation is granted, upon the motion of either party and after service of notice on the other party in the manner provided by ORCP 7, and after notice to the Division of Child Support when required under subsection (9) of this section:

(a) Set aside, alter or modify any portion of the judgment that provides for the appointment and duties of trustees, for the custody, parenting time, visitation, support and welfare of the minor children and the children attending school, as defined in ORS 107.108 (Support or maintenance for child attending school), including any health or life insurance provisions, for the support of a party or for life insurance under ORS 107.820 (Support order as insurable interest) or 107.830 (Physical examination may be ordered);

(b) Make an order, after service of notice to the other party, providing for the future custody, support and welfare of minor children residing in the state, who, at the time the judgment was given, were not residents of the state, or were unknown to the court or were erroneously omitted from the judgment;

(c) Terminate a duty of support toward any minor child who has become self-supporting, emancipated or married;

(d) After service of notice on the child in the manner provided by law for service of a summons, suspend future support for any child who has ceased to be a child attending school as defined in ORS 107.108 (Support or maintenance for child attending school); and

(e) Set aside, alter or modify any portion of the judgment that provides for a property award based on the enhanced earning capacity of a party that was awarded before October 23, 1999. A property award may be set aside, altered or modified under this paragraph.


Read Full Text: ORS 107.135

Factors Considered In Determining Custody Of Child

(1) Except as provided in subsection (6) of this section, in determining custody of a minor child under ORS 107.105 (Provisions of judgment) or 107.135 (Vacation or modification of judgment), the court shall give primary consideration to the best interests and welfare of the child. In determining the best interests and welfare of the child, the court shall consider the following relevant factors:

(a) The emotional ties between the child and other family members;

(b) The interest of the parties in and attitude toward the child;

(c) The desirability of continuing an existing relationship;

(d) The abuse of one parent by the other;

(e) The preference for the primary caregiver of the child, if the caregiver is deemed fit by the court; and

(f) The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child. However, the court may not consider such willingness and ability if one parent shows that the other parent has sexually assaulted or engaged in a pattern of behavior of abuse against the parent or a child and that a continuing relationship with the other parent will endanger the health or safety of either parent or the child.


Read Full Text: ORS 107.137

Proceeding To Determine Custody Or Support Of Child

(1) If a child is born to an unmarried person and parentage has been established under ORS 109.065 (Establishing parentage), or if a child is born to a married person by a person other than the birth mother’s spouse and parentage between the person and the child has been established under ORS 109.065 (Establishing parentage), either parent may initiate a civil proceeding to determine the custody or support of, or parenting time with, the child. The proceeding shall be brought in the circuit court of the county in which the child resides or is found or in the circuit court of the county in which either parent resides. The parents have the same rights and responsibilities regarding the custody and support of, and parenting time with, their child that married or divorced parents would have, and the provisions of ORS 107.094 (Forms for restraining order and request for hearing) to 107.449 (Transfer of proceeding under ORS 107.135 to auxiliary court) that relate to custody, support and parenting time, the provisions of ORS 107.755 (Court-ordered mediation) to 107.795 (Availability of other remedies) that relate to mediation procedures, and the provisions of ORS 107.810 (Policy), 107.820 (Support order as insurable interest) and 107.830 (Physical examination may be ordered) that relate to life insurance, apply to the proceeding.


Read Full Text: ORS 109.103


Pacific Family Law Firm is focused on one area of law: family law. From divorces to child support to spousal support to custody modifications, we're ready to help. Whether your your case has been open for years and is having a judgment modified, or if you have never had an attorney before and are just figuring out how to proceed with a divorce or other family change, we will take care of you.

Oregon Family Law & Divorce Blog

At Pacific Family Law Firm in Oregon, staying current on the latest developments in Oregon divorce and family law topics is a top priority. Our firm maintains a policy of "information first" for the client, so we make every effort to share information with the public and clients. Our blog covers topics from the frequently asked questions (FAQs) that Oregon family law Attorneys encounter to news headlines that impact Oregon families. If there is a topic you would like to see covered, let us know, and we'll add it to our list of subject matter!

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