Child Custody Lawyer in Portland
Protecting Your Custody Rights In Portland 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. Take a look at our client testimonials and see why we are the most trusted team of child custody lawyers in all of Portland, OR.
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.
How Can An Attorney Help You With Child Custody In Portland?
Hiring an attorney when it comes to child custody is critical for providing you with the support that you need during this difficult time.
A child custody attorney can help by:
- Providing you with the support and reassurance that you need during this difficult time.
- Helping you to avoid mistakes that can cost you financially (court fines).
- Helping you to negotiate on matters of child support.
- Advising you on important legal matters regarding your case.
- Helping to prioritize your child's or children's interests.
- Effectively representing you in court.
If you are looking for a highly-reputable child custody attorney in Portland, Oregon, or the surrounding area who you can trust, you can count on Levine Law Center. Our attorneys will go above and beyond to ensure that you get the rights that you are entitled to when it comes to your child's custody.
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 the 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. The mother also has the right to file for paternity if she is seeking child support.
What are Oregon's Custody Laws For Unmarried Parents
When it comes to custody laws regarding unmarried parents, there are several factors that the court takes into consideration.
Some factors that the court judge uses as a deciding factor for granting child custody to unmarried parents include:
- Which parent has been the primary caregiver for the child throughout the child's life?
- What type of relationship does the child have with each of the parents?
- What type of relationship does the child have with extended family members from each side of the parent?
- Has a parent been abusive to the child (this could include physical or sexual abuse)
- What do the parents' criminal records look like?
- How old is the child?
- What is the child's current state of health and well-being?
- Who does the child prefer to live with (if he or she is of the appropriate age to choose)
- What is the parent's financial situation?
- What is the parent's state of emotional well-being?
- What would each parent's home environment look like?
- Would each parent's support allow the other parent to have a healthy relationship with the other parent? This is not considering situations where there is abuse involved.
What Are Unmarried Fathers' Rights in Oregon
Since unmarried fathers do not automatically get parental rights over their child or children, it is important for the father to take legal action as soon as possible. If the father does not take legal action, in the state of Oregon, he will not have the legal right to be in his child's or his children's lives.
What steps an unmarried father must take to obtain legal rights:
- It is important for both the mother and the father to take part in deciding the father's position.
- The father must ensure that his name is printed on his child's birth certificate (verifying that he is the father of the child or the children). This grants acknowledgment of paternity.
- If the mother refuses to sign the acknowledgment of paternity, the father may submit a paternity test to petition the court.
- The court must issue an order verifying and naming the individual as the legal father. After this is done, the unmarried father is able to seek custody and visitation.
What Is an Unfit Parent in Oregon?
Oftentimes, in heated child custody cases, one parent may accuse the other of being "unfit". To be ruled unfit by a judge, the parent in question must have failed to provide the child(ren) guidance, support, and care. Basically, the parent must have failed to carry out their role as guardian and provider. Due to the implications that this may have on child custody and/or visitation, accusations are taken very seriously. False allegations aren't taken lightly and may result in strict penalties.
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 to 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. This is not to say that the child's wishes aren't heard. They are always considered, but the weight behind their wishes isn't as heavy as what the judge feels is best for them.
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 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.
- Do Oregon Courts Favor Mothers in Custody Disputes?
- How is Child Custody Determined in Oregon?
- Do Grandparents Have Custody Rights Over a Grandchild?