Oregon Custody Laws

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As a single parent, one of the best ways to increase your chances of winning child custody is to get to know the child custody laws in your state. Oregon custody laws are generally similar to other states. Despite this, there are always nuances you need to keep in mind before heading into family court. Here's what you need to know about how child custody in Oregon.

The state of Oregon uses several criteria to formally determine child custody arrangements. First and foremost, Oregon custody laws are based on the best interests of the child standard. This means that the courts look carefully at what custody arrangement would be best for the child in order to help him/her thrive. Rather than focusing on convenience or even status quo (keeping things the same for the sake of keeping them the same), Oregon child custody arrangements are intended to be based solely on the child's needs. In addition, courts in Oregon do not discriminate against parents based on gender. Mothers and fathers are given equal opportunity before the law, with neither having a better chance of being granted physical custody based on gender alone. 

How Oregon Custody Laws Influence Outcomes

When considering the best interests of the child, family court judges in Oregon generally evaluate the following factors in accordance with Oregon child custody laws:

  • The relationship between the child, his/her parents, and other family members.
  • The parents' wishes.
  • The primary caregiver's preference, if the primary caregiver is deemed to be a fit custodian.
  • Each parent's willingness to foster and encourage a relationship between the child and the child's other parent.
  • Any history of abuse between the parents.

It's worth noting that each parents' willingness to support the other's relationship with the child is crucial. Parents with a history of standing between the child and the other parent may be surprised to find that the courts frown upon such behavior, even when the parent finds it to be justified. 

Parenting Plans and Oregon Custody Laws

When taking legal action in an attempt to win child custody in Oregon, parents are expected to submit a parenting plan to the court, including a proposed schedule of each parent's rights and responsibilities. This is an important step that should not be overlooked or taken lightly. Your family's parenting plan may include provisions such as:

  • Your residential schedule.
  • Any plans for either parent to relocate.
  • Regular weekend and holiday schedules with the child.
  • Information to be shared between the parents on a routine basis.
  • Transportation plans, particularly for shuttling the child between homes.
  • How the parents will work together to resolve disputes.

Joint Child Custody in Oregon

Prior to making a decision about joint custody, the court will consider whether both parents agree to a joint physical custody arrangement. In general, family courts in Oregon will not order joint custody unless both parties agree to such an arrangement. In addition, when both parties do agree to joint custody, it's rare for an Oregon court to overrule the parties' agreement and order sole custody. Oregon courts also do not typically modify a joint custody agreement unless there is strong evidence of a change in circumstances that could adversely affect the child.