Grandparents' Rights/Third-Party Rights Helping Oregon Families Through Their Toughest Times

Portland Grandparents’ Rights Attorneys

What Are Grandparents’ Rights in Oregon?

A child’s best interests are the main factor Oregon courts will take into consideration when determining child custody or visitation rights for grandparents. Typically, the courts presume that a child’s parents should be granted sole custody. However, there are circumstances where a grandparent may petition the court for custody or visitation rights. A grandparent close to their grandchild may wish to do so.

Interested in establishing your rights as a grandparent in Oregon? Contact our Portland grandparents' rights lawyers online or call us at (503) 433-8340 today.

Do Grandparents’ Have Visitation Rights in Oregon?

Oregon law believes a child’s parents will act in the child’s best interests. Therefore, a grandparent wishing to obtain visitation rights must prove to the court that it would be in the grandchild's best interests to grant this. Oregon courts can be restrictive when it comes to awarding grandparent visitation rights. Grandparent visitation may be deemed appropriate in the following situations:

  • The child will be negatively affected if grandparent visitation is denied
  • The grandparent is or was recently the child’s primary caretaker
  • The child’s parent denied or refused contact between the child and grandparent

It is important to note that Oregon law promotes parental rights over grandparents’ rights in most cases.

When Do Grandparents’ Stand a Chance of Getting Child Custody?

There are certain factors in place to determine if custody can be awarded to a grandparent. These may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Legal parent is unfit or unwilling to care for the child
  • Grandparent is or was recently the child’s primary caretaker
  • Child will be affected negatively
  • Child’s parent encouraged or allowed the child’s relationship with the grandparent
  • Child’s legal parent has denied or refused contact between the child and the grandparent

These factors vary according to the case presented. If evidence shows that the child’s parents are not acting in the child’s best interests and that the child could be cared for better by the grandparent, this may warrant a change of custody. A grandparent’s custody and visitation rights will always come second to a parent’s in the state of Oregon.

Third-Party Child Custody & Visitation Rights

While a grandparent seeking custody rights is a common scenario, Oregon’s third-party custody statute does not restrict this law to just grandparents. Instead, anyone that has established a child-parent relationship with the child may request custody and visitation rights. These third-party individuals may include:

  • Siblings
  • Aunts and uncles
  • Cousins
  • Stepparents
  • To show a child-parent relationship, the third party must show that they have established a relationship within the six months preceding the filing of an action. This relationship is defined as having physical custody of the child, residing in the same household as the child, or providing for the child. However, a relationship between a child and a third-party individual is not considered a child-parent relationship unless the relationship extends for 12 months.

What Must Third-Party Individuals Requesting Custody or Visitation Prove?

While seeking third-party custody and visitation rights is not impossible, it does prove difficult. Oregon requires that the third-party individual requesting such rights prove the following:

  • Legal parent is unfit or unwilling to care for the child
  • Child would be psychologically, emotionally, or physically harmed otherwise
  • Legal parent at one time fostered, encouraged, and consented to the relationship between the child and the third party
  • Legal parent had, in recent times, unreasonably denied or limited contact between the child and the third party
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