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 attorney 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.
Our office and divorce attorneys 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.
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 lawyers 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.
In Oregon, child custody may be modified and changed under certain circumstances. Before custody is determined explicitly, parents have "joint custody" whereby neither party as any more decision making authority than the deteriorated; either parent may ask the court to decide which parent should have "sole custody." When requested, a judge must choose between the parents by applying legal criteria. If custody has already been determined (meaning that one party already has "sole custody"), the parent seeking to modify this must prove that there has been a "substantial change in circumstances" as to a parent's ability to care for the children and act as a parent. Further, the court must always look to the best interest of the children when changing custody.
Generally, courts resist changing custody of a child once determined. This resistance is not just because they are obstinate; the law sets a high standard for making this change. Modifying custody can be hard on a child, disruptive to their schedule, and often is viewed as not in the child's best interest. As a result, compared to when custody is initially determined, there is a higher legal burden to change custody once established. Nonetheless, there are circumstances when courts certainly will modify child custody. For example, cases meeting the "substantial change in circumstance" criteria might include:
These are only a few examples of situations that could cause a modification of child custody. Oregon custody modification cases are very complicated and have a high legal bar. An Oregon child custody modification attorney can help evaluate your case's facts and help you decide how to proceed.
Clients always want to know the duration and the price of an Oregon divorce. Unfortunately, this is tough to answer without consulting on the case, although a widespread question.
Lawyers charge on an hourly basis, meaning the price of your divorce is related to the amount of time your lawyer spends working on the matter. There are also some court costs associated with the filing of a divorce, or other family law matters, in the state of Oregon. As a general rule, the higher the number of issues that are in dispute in your circumstance, the higher the fees. This is simply because the attorney will need to spend more time working on your matter.
Couples that can solve all issues may be able to do so without the need of a lawyer. Or, they may simply use a lawyer to draft appropriate paperwork. However, if a divorce goes to trial or has multiple hearings in court, the costs will grow accordingly. Because going to court is comparatively expensive, most cases settle without going to trial.
The length of the divorce also depends on whether the case goes to trial. A complete divorce could be finished as little as two weeks (or even less!) if the parties have agreed on most of the matters and only require the drafting of a judgment. However, when the matter involves court time, the schedule is often at the mercy of the court, which can be lengthy given the court's caseload. While most contested cases resolve within nine months, outlier cases can last more than a year.
Let us evaluate your case at a flat-fee initial consultation. We will attempt to give you a ballpark assessment of how much your matter would cost at every step and discuss the specifics of your case, which could make it more or less costly.
Child custody is one of the most contentiously and contested issues in Oregon family law cases. Misconceptions about what "custody" actually means tend to meld with advice from well-meaning friends and family and with conflicting information from web sources that might not even reflect Oregon law.
Legal "custody" of a child in Oregon is not nearly as sweeping a status as many tend to believe. It is not a "super parent" status that allows a custodial parent to make unilateral moves for the child that involve relocation or schedule changes. In short, legal custody refers to decision making authority on three significant issues: 1. Education - for instance, if there is a dispute regarding which of two available public schools a child would attend, the custodial parent would have the final "tie-breaking" vote. 2. Healthcare - in non-emergency circumstances, the custodial parent may determine major medical questions, like selecting which primary care pediatrician the child uses. 3. Theological training - again, for example, this would entail determining as to whether a child went to a religious school or a public school. (Note that this custodial decision says nothing about the who would pay for a private religious school.)
There are two separate types of custody in Oregon: full legal custody and joint custody. Full custody is where one parent has the entire "tie-breaking" decision making authority, as referenced above. In joint legal custody, neither parent has any more power than the other; all determinations as to primary education, healthcare, and religious training must be by agreement of the parties. Joint custody can only come about by agreement of the parties. The court cannot force it.
By contrast, sole ("full") legal custody, if not agreed to, must be decided on by the court. When doing this, the court must take the child's best interest or children into account and apply factors as prescribed by Oregon law. In determining custody, Oregon law specifies what factors the court must evaluate and consider when deciding who should be the sole custodial parent at ORS 107.137: - 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.
When the parties cannot agree on joint custody, the court has no option but to decide on one parent to be awarded sole custody by applying these factors. If a case goes to trial, a court will often recite the statutory factors they considered when making their ruling and awarding custody. However, not all cases go to trial. Most do not. If parties agree on a custody arrangement, without the need for a judge to weigh the custody factors, the court will honor that decision in any final judgment. Parties can come about an agreement by themselves, with the help of attorneys, or even through a mediated settlement.
Once custody is decided, or agreed-to for one parent, changing custody is substantially harder than establishing it. The court requires a "substantial and unanticipated change in circumstances," generally, which are to the detriment of a child.
Custody issues are tricky and require knowledge of the law to present the relevant evidence in a contested case. If you need help with your Oregon custody case, contact an experienced Oregon custody lawyer at brittle.law to set up a consultation.
Q: What does a family law lawyer do? What is "Oregon family law?"
A: “Oregon Family law” is an umbrella term that refers to the practice of law that involves common domestic and family issues. While it is often associated with Oregon divorce, "family law" covers far more. Common family law issues include child custody, parenting time (visitation), step-parent adoptions, spousal support, child support, restraining orders and stalking orders, prenuptial agreement, grandparent rights, and far more.
Modern families come in all sizes and arrangments, and the term "family law" simply refers to the practice of law that helps those families within the Oregon court system.
When going through a divorce, tensions are already high. Emotions are high; feelings are hurt. The last thing that helps this circumstance is litigation, where the parties are forced to take positional roles that are adverse to each other, with a judge deciding on "who is right." By contrast, mediation is about building agreements and consensus. Rather than having a judge tell you the decision, a skilled Oregon mediator will help guide the parties to agree on their own. For couples going through a divorce, this is often an excellent way to reduce the level of conflict and create a resolution that works for the family.
While certainly not free, mediation can also be an excellent investment if it cuts a lengthy and far more costly litigation cycle of trial preparation and trial. Further, the reduction of tension and faster resolution, if successful, can have many longer-term benefits for families with children. By improving the ability to communicate at seem level, it may foster an environment that parents can work on other conflicts in the future to resolve issues involving the children.
Every county in Oregon is required to offer some divorce mediation to litigants. These mediation processes are connected to the court process. Still, they are outside the routine litigation that occurs within the court process itself. All mediation requirements may be satisfied by utilizing a private mediator independently hired by the parties.
In the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area, each of the three counties has its own mediation services required during a divorce: - Multnomah County Divorce Mediation: Under Multnomah County Supplementary Local Rule 8.031(1): In any domestic relations case, all parties are required to participate in some form of appropriate dispute resolution, including mediation, arbitration, judicial settlement conference, or a neutral-assisted settlement conference… - Clackamas County Divorce Mediation: Divorce mediation is voluntary - Washington County Divorce Mediation: Washington county Supplementary Local Rule 12.011 require: Mandatory Mediation: Any action filed in the court involving a controversy over custody or parenting time of minor children shall be subject to mediation - Outside the trip-county metropolitan area, each county has it’s own requirements which can be evaluated in the county supplementary local rules.
Mediation and arbitration are both alternative dispute resolution methods ("ADR") but are very different processes. Arbitration is more like a less formal trial and does not take place in a courtroom. In arbitration, an "arbitrator" fills the role of a judge in a courtroom and makes decisions about the case. By comparison, mediation is a process where a mediator facilitates negotiations and helps bring about agreement on disputed issues. Unlike an arbitrator, a mediator does not have any decision making authority in the case. While a good mediator can facilitate an agreement, they cannot force a resolution.
Minimizing conflict both during and after a divorce should be essential for parties, particularly those with children. Mediation provides a useful tool for resolving disputes without the need to enter a public forum (a courtroom) and inflame tensions by leveling allegations at each other. Mediation allows the parties to take part in the development and agreement of their resolution. This lowing of strains can have long-term benefits for the parties' emotional well-being and foster a better co-parenting relationship after the divorce process is complete. Similarly, or utilizing mediation after the divorce process is complete before returning to court for later disputes, the parties may continue to resolve future issues without costly or hurtful litigation.
Conflict reduction during and after divorce Minimizing conflict is a primary benefit of mediation during a divorce. The ability to do this can not only make the divorce itself less complicated, but it can set up a more positive atmosphere for after the divorce. For people who must co-parent after the divorce, this can be highly beneficial and in children's best interests.
This question is standard, though completely subjective and fact-specific. It is certainly possible for people to do divorces independently, and the court even provides paperwork to the public to do so. However, unfamiliarity with legal forms can confuse the inexperienced, and mistakes can result in more considerable legal fees in the future to correct the errors.
When there are more complex issues involving children, custody, and real property or more extensive assets, getting the expert legal opinion from an experienced Oregon divorce lawyer is almost certainly a good idea.
While not an exhaustive list, experience has shown that the best Oregon divorce lawyers consistently display a handful of traits. These are the hallmarks that tend to create the client's best knowledge and are most likely to lead the client to their goals. It is common for people to want a "pitbull" or some other cliched characterization of a lawyer to represent them. However, these are the traits that, in practice, are the most likely to obtain positive results.
Sometimes not knowing is the most stressful part of a divorce or family law case.
Let us remove the mystery.
Talk to an experienced Oregon family law attorney today.
(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.
(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.
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.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(1) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (9) of this section, any person, including but not limited to a related or nonrelated foster parent, stepparent, grandparent or relative by blood or marriage, who has established emotional ties creating a child-parent relationship or an ongoing personal relationship with a child may petition or file a motion for intervention with the court having jurisdiction over the custody, placement or guardianship of that child, or if no such proceedings are pending, may petition the court for the county in which the child resides, for an order providing for relief under subsection (3) of this section.
(2)(a) In any proceeding under this section, there is a presumption that the legal parent acts in the best interest of the child.
(b) In an order granting relief under this section, the court shall include findings of fact supporting the rebuttal of the presumption described in paragraph (a) of this subsection.
(c) The presumption described in paragraph (a) of this subsection does not apply in a proceeding to modify an order granting relief under this section.
(3)(a) If the court determines that a child-parent relationship exists and if the court determines that the presumption described in subsection (2)(a) of this section has been rebutted by a preponderance of the evidence, the court shall grant custody, guardianship, right of visitation or other right to the person having the child-parent relationship, if to do so is in the best interest of the child. The court may determine temporary custody of the child or temporary visitation rights under this paragraph pending a final order.
(b) If the court determines that an ongoing personal relationship exists and if the court determines that the presumption described in subsection (2)(a) of this section has been rebutted by clear and convincing evidence, the court shall grant visitation or contact rights to the person having the ongoing personal relationship, if to do so is in the best interest of the child. The court may order temporary visitation or contact rights under this paragraph pending a final order.
(4)(a) In deciding whether the presumption described in subsection (2)(a) of this section has been rebutted and whether to award visitation or contact rights over the objection of the legal parent, the court may consider factors including, but not limited to, the following, which may be shown by the evidence:
(A) The petitioner or intervenor is or recently has been the child’s primary caretaker;
(B) Circumstances detrimental to the child exist if relief is denied;
(C) The legal parent has fostered, encouraged or consented to the relationship between the child and the petitioner or intervenor;
(D) Granting relief would not substantially interfere with the custodial relationship; or
(E) The legal parent has unreasonably denied or limited contact between the child and the petitioner or intervenor.
(b) In deciding whether the presumption described in subsection (2)(a) of this section has been rebutted and whether to award custody, guardianship or other rights over the objection of the legal parent, the court may consider factors including, but not limited to, the following, which may be shown by the evidence:
(A) The legal parent is unwilling or unable to care adequately for the child;
(B) The petitioner or intervenor is or recently has been the child’s primary caretaker;
(C) Circumstances detrimental to the child exist if relief is denied;
(D) The legal parent has fostered, encouraged or consented to the relationship between the child and the petitioner or intervenor; or
(E) The legal parent has unreasonably denied or limited contact between the child and the petitioner or intervenor.
While not an exhaustive list, experience has shown that the best Oregon divorce lawyers consistently display a handful of traits. These are the hallmarks that tend to create the client's best knowledge and are most likely to lead the client to their goals.Read More
Mediation is about building agreements and consensus. Rather than having a judge *tell* you the decision, a skilled Oregon mediator will help guide the parties to agree on their own. For couples going through a divorce, divorce mediation is often an excellent way to reduce the level of conflict and create a resolution that works for the family.Read More
This question is standard, though completely subjective and fact-specific. It is certainly possible for people to do divorces independently, and the court even provides paperwork to the public to do so. However, unfamiliarity with legal forms can confuse the inexperienced, and mistakes can result in more considerable legal fees in the future to correct the errors.Read More