Custody in Oregon

When you’re anticipating a divorce or looking to establish custody with a current or former partner, the idea of custody can be scary and overwhelming. While it’s impossible for us to answer individual questions about custody without a comprehensive legal consult, we can help give general information about components that may affect custody in your situation.

Below are some of our most frequently asked questions regarding custody.

What does it mean to have custody?

The parent who is awarded sole custody has the right to make vital decisions regarding a child’s education, religious training, and healthcare (among other things). Custody is often confused with parenting time. Parenting time determines when a child will be in each parent’s care. To have full custody does not mean you receive 100% of the parenting time, just like joint custody does not (always) equate to 50/50 parenting time.

How is custody determined in Oregon?

Below are the factors that Oregon courts look at when awarding custody.

  1. The emotional ties between the child and other family members
  2. The interest of the parent in the child and the parent’s attitude toward the child
  3. The desirability of continuing an existing relationship
  4. Whether one spouse has been abusive to the other spouse
  5. Which parent has been the primary caregiver of the child, and
  6. The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child

What is joint custody?

Joint custody is an award of custody to both parents. The court will only order joint custody if both parents agree to it. Joint custody will only work in situations where both parents are capable of communicating and cooperating with one another.

Can a former award of custody be modified?

Yes- custody can be modified. However, you must be able to show the court that a substantial change in circumstances has occurred since the last order, and that the change in custody is in the child’s best interests.

For more information regarding custody, visit the Oregon Judicial Branch website at the link below. It is also a great idea to contact a family law attorney who can you help you analyze these factors and apply them to your situation.