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Child Custody Laws

In Portland and throughout the state of Oregon, the court makes child custody decisions based primarily upon the best interests and welfare of the child. This standard is paramount in all decisions. In determining what the best interests and welfare of the child are, the court considers:

  • The emotional ties between the child and other family members
  • The interest of the parents in and attitude toward the child
  • The desirability of continuing an existing relationship
  • The abuse of one parent to the other
  • The child's preference for the primary caregiver, if the caregiver is deemed fit by the court
  • The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child

Joint or sole custody in Portland

Child custody laws in Oregon allow the court to grant sole or joint custody. The conduct, marital status, income, social environment, or lifestyle of a parent is considered in determining custody only when it is shown that any of these factors are causing or may cause emotional or physical damage to the child.

No preference is given to either parent based upon gender. If a parent has abused a family or household member, there is a rebuttable presumption that it is not in the best interests and welfare of the child to award sole or joint custody of the child to the parent who committed the abuse.

Sole custody in Portland

Custody laws in Oregon provide that, if sole custody is granted to one parent, the court may order parenting time or visitation rights to the parent not having custody of the child. If the parents are unable to develop a parenting plan, the court will develop a parenting plan in the child's best interests, ensuring the noncustodial parent sufficient access to the child to provide for appropriate quality parenting time. The court may deny parenting time to the noncustodial parent only if it finds that parenting time would endanger the health or safety of the child.

Unless otherwise ordered by the court when sole custody is awarded, the other parent will still have rights to the same extent as the custodial parent in many areas of the life of the child.

Get assistance understanding custody laws

Contact Gearing, Rackner & Engel, LLP to speak to one of our highly skilled attorneys if you have questions about your rights under custody laws. In Portland and beyond, we help parents deal with child custody matters.

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