Helping individuals in custody and visitation matters in Central and Eastern Oregon
Custody and Visitation
At Phillips & Moore, LLP, we recognize that child custody and parenting time schedules are the biggest concern for many clients. We will help you to create a custody and parenting plan best suited for your family and negotiate on your behalf to reach an agreed-upon plan.
Factors in Custody Award
In Oregon, the court makes decisions on child custody and parenting time based on what it believes is in the best interests of the children. The court takes into account a number of factors in making this decision. In addition to protecting the children's health, safety and welfare, a custody arrangement must encourage frequent and continuing contact with both parents, unless there has been a history of child abuse or domestic violence.
Joint and Sole Custody
Parents may choose to share joint custody. However, Oregon courts cannot order an award of joint custody. An award of sole custody gives the custodial parent primary authority over medical, education and religious decisions.
Modification of Custody and Parenting Time Orders
Because of Oregon's interest in the welfare of minor children, the court always has jurisdiction to make or change custody and parenting time orders after a divorce is finalized. In fact, changes to custody agreements are quite common as children become older and families change.
In determining modification, the court will determine whether there has been a substantial change in circumstances that so affects the child that modification is necessary to the child's welfare.
Such changes in circumstances include (but are not limited to):
Custody and Parenting Time Evaluations
If the parents are unable to agree to a custody arrangement, typically the parents will agree to, or the court will order, a custody evaluation. A custody evaluation is performed by a psychologist or other mental health professional. Typically, the custody evaluator will evaluate both parents' proposed custody proposals. A typical custody evaluation will process in several states and over a period of time (typically three months, but sometimes longer and sometimes shorter.) It is common, though not necessarily obligatory, that the evaluation process includes the following parts:
Courts generally place great weight on the custody evaluation and recommendations. Therefore, it is essential to work with an attorney who understands the evaluation process and properly helps you in preparing for it. Phillips and Moore, LLP, helps you prepare for the custody evaluation, from negotiating for a specific evaluator, to explaining the process, and to coaching you on how to proceed during the evaluation.