Separating or divorcing parents in Oregon are often very concerned about child custody determinations.
As a parent, you may be reassured to note that according to the Oregon State Bar Association, custody and parental visitation determinations are guided by the child's best interests, rather than automatically granted to either parent on the basis of the parent's gender.
The court takes your child's best interest into account in several ways. Courts look to the relationship between you and your child. They examine the relationship between your spouse and your child. They also look at your marital relationship. There is a rebuttable presumption in Oregon courts that a parent who has abused the co-parent should not be awarded custody. A court will look at the psychological and emotional damage of separating your child from her primary caregiver parent and explore the interest you and your spouse have each expressed in the care of your child. While many judges would consider the wishes of your child in determining custody, courts tend not to give a child's wishes too much weight because they do not want a child to feel as though she is being forced to choose between her parents. Where possible, siblings are not separated due to custody decisions.
Custody refers to your ability as a parent to make important life decisions for your child. Parental visitation refers to the time that your child spends with you. Parental visitation rights can be awarded to a parent who is denied custody rights. Joint custody does not mean that a child will spend an equal amount of time with both parents. Custody is also a separate consideration from child support obligations. Even a custodial parent may be required to make child support payments. Courts in Oregon encourage you and your spouse to work together through mediation to make custodial decisions and create a workable plan for parental visitation time.
This post is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as legal advice.