Child Custody Lawyers in Portland
Protecting Your Custody Rights to the Fullest Extent
As a parent or grandparent, or even as another family member or person interested in a child’s well-being, you may have the right to a meaningful relationship with that child. This may include physical custody as well as making decisions regarding the child’s care. Child custody matters are highly complex and often emotionally charged as well, making it important to involve a competent Portland child custody attorney who can protect your rights.
The Portland child custody lawyer at Levine Law Center represents clients across the greater Portland area in custody proceedings related to divorce, paternity, fathers’ rights, mothers’ rights, grandparents’ rights, and third-party custodial rights. If you are going through a divorce or are dealing with any other issue involving custody or visitation, our Portland child custody attorneys may be able to help.
Types of Child Custody Matters Our Portland Child Custody Lawyer Handles
Child custody and parenting time (visitation) must be addressed if parents are divorcing or separating. It may also come up in paternity cases, or if a child’s parents are incapacitated or lose their lives. Our Portland custody lawyers stand ready to help in any such situation.
Our Portland child custody lawyers handle all types of child custody matters, including:
- Fathers' Rights & Mothers' Rights – Protecting fathers’ rights and mothers’ rights in paternity proceedings, divorce, and all other matters related to child custody and parenting time. While the courts typically try to grant fathers and mothers similar rights regarding custody, extenuating circumstances or instances of abuse may create the need for a sole custody arrangement. Such decisions will be made in the child’s best interests.
- Grandparent Custody & Visitation – In some cases, such as the incarceration or incompetence of a child’s parents, grandparents may have the right to custody of their grandchild. Our Portland child custody attorney can address grandparents’ custody rights when these apply.
- Third-Party Custody – While less common than parental rights or grandparents’ rights, third-party custodial rights may apply in cases where there is an existing relationship that fulfills traditional parental duties or involves long-term visitation or involvement in a child’s life. While Oregon law typically favors parents in child custody proceedings, non-parents may seek custody or visitation rights if there is evidence of a sufficient relationship and need, and if it is in the child’s best interests.
How To File for Custody in Oregon
In order to file for child custody in Oregon, you will need to file a petition with the court. The first step is deciding whether you will file alone or with your child's other parent. If you and the other parent agree on both physical and legal custody, your case may proceed relatively quickly, as you may not need to attend a hearing. If you cannot come to an agreement with the other parent—and even if you can—an experienced Portland child custody attorney from Levine Law Center can help make sure your custody arrangement is in your child's best interests as well as represent you in court, if necessary.
Oregon Child Custody FAQ
What Kinds of Custody Are There in Oregon?
Oregon has two types of custody: joint custody and sole custody.
- Joint Custody in Oregon: Joint custody means that both parents share in the decision-making for their child. In joint custody cases, it isn't necessary for the child to spend 50% of their time with each parent–the percentage depends on what the parents or the court decide.
- Sole Legal Custody in Oregon: In sole custody cases, only one parent has physical custody and decision-making authority for the child.
How Is Child Custody Determined in Oregon?
According to the Oregon State Bar website, Oregon courts make custody determinations based on the "best interests and welfare of the child." Judges take the following matters into account when deciding custody:
- The child's emotional relationship with each parent
- Each parent's interest in and attitude toward the child
- Each parent's desire to continue a relationship with the child
- Each parent's willingness and capacity to facilitate and encourage a relationship with the other parent and child
- Each parent's income and home environment (only if it may cause emotional or physical harm to the child)
- Any history of family violence or domestic abuse
- Any history of alcohol or substance abuse
- Who the primary caregiver of the child is
Is Oregon a Mother or Father State When It Comes to Custody?
According to Oregon custody laws, preference may not be shown to either the mother or the father in a custody case based on their gender. Rather, Oregon courts take into consideration the "preference of the primary caregiver of the child." Whoever was parent who took care of the child before the divorce has a stronger say in custody, as long as the court deems the primary caregiver to be "fit."
Who Has Custody of a Child When the Parents Are Not Married in Oregon?
In Oregon, unmarried fathers are not automatically granted parental rights, which means the mother has custody of the child until paternity is established. Once paternity is established, an unmarried father has the right to pursue custody and visitation.
What Is an Unfit Parent in Oregon?
Oregon courts may deem a parent unfit if he or she:
- Displays abusive or cruel conduct towards the child;
- Uses intoxicating liquors or controlled substances to the extent that parental ability is impaired;
- Physically neglects the child;
- Is involved in criminal conduct that impairs his or her ability provide adequate care;
- Has a mental health condition that renders him or her incapable of providing proper care for the child for an extended period of time.
At What Age Can a Child in Oregon Decide Which Parent to Live With?
In Oregon custody cases, minor children do not have a say in which parent they may live with. Custody is determined between the parents, or by the court if custody is contested. Children in Oregon may only choose who they live with once they are emancipated/reach the age of majority, which is 18 years old.
Can I Move if I Have Sole Custody?
In Oregon, the custodial parent may move up to 60 miles away from his or her current residence without providing notice or gaining approval from the other parent. However, in order to move more than 60 miles away, the custodial parent must provide notice to both the other parent and to the court. If the other parent disagrees with the move, he or she must file a petition with the court. The judge will then make a decision about the move based on whether it is in the child's best interests.