Child Custody & Parenting Time

When child custody or parenting time is disputed an experienced attorney can assist you with many common difficult decisions. Counties all have different local rules and procedures which will affect your case.

A knowledgeable lawyer understands the rulings of each: Clackamas County (Lake Oswego, West Linn, Oregon City, Clackamas, Wilsonville, Milwaukie), Washington County (Tualatin, Beaverton, Tigard, Sherwood, Aloha, Hillsboro), Multnomah County (Portland, Southwest Portland, Gresham), and Marion County (Woodburn, Salem, Kaiser). For example, if a custody and parenting time evaluation is required should you use an evaluator provided by the county? While Washington and Multnomah Counties have custody and parenting time evaluators who work for the county, Marion and Clackamas Counties do not. Is a county employed evaluator right for your case? Should a custody evaluation by an expert be obtained? If a private evaluator is needed should you hire an expert with a Masters in Social Work or one with a PhD in Psychology? Which experts will give you the fairest evaluation? How do you best prepare your case for a custody / parenting time evaluator and for court? Which witnesses will be most likely to benefit your case? How long will you and your spouse be required to remain in the same household? How should you deal with domestic violence or the accusation of domestic violence?

These are all issues I can assist you with because I have successfully helped others for the past 25 years.

What Determines Custody of a Child?

There are a number of statutory provisions which have an impact on custody and parenting time. ORS 107.137 sets forth the statutory factors to be considered in determining custody of child. It states:

In determining custody of a minor child under ORS 107.105 or 107.135, the court shall give primary consideration to the best interests and welfare of the child. In determining the best interests and welfare of the child, the court shall consider the following relevant factors:

The emotional ties between the child and other family members;

The interest of the parties in and attitude toward the child;

The desirability of continuing an existing relationship;

The abuse of one parent by the other;

The preference for the primary caregiver of the child, if the caregiver is deemed fit by the court; and

The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child. However, the court may not consider such willingness and ability if one parent shows that the other parent has sexually assaulted or engaged in a pattern of behavior of abuse against the parent or a child and that a continuing relationship with the other parent will endanger the health or safety of either parent or the child.

The best interests and welfare of the child in a custody matter shall not be determined by isolating any one of the relevant factors referred to in subsection (1) of this section, or any other relevant factor, and relying on it to the exclusion of other factors. However, if a parent has committed abuse, as defined in ORS 107.705, there is a rebuttable presumption that it is not in the best interests and welfare of the child to award sole or joint custody of the child to the parent who committed the abuse.

In determining custody of a minor child under ORS 107.105 or 107.135, the court shall consider the conduct, marital status, income, social environment or life style of either party only if it is shown that any of these factors are causing or may cause emotional or physical damage to the child.

No preference in custody shall be given to the mother over the father for the sole reason that she is the mother, nor shall any preference be given to the father over the mother for the sole reason that he is the father.

How these statutory factors apply in your case will depend on how your facts are presented to a custody evaluator or to the court. Custody and parenting time decisions are based on the unique facts in your case. I can assist you in developing the evidence which, when applied to the law, will lead to your best results.

What Is Joint Custody?

Joint custody is not a 50-50 parenting time arrangement. It is an arrangement by which parents share rights and responsibilities for the major decisions concerning the child, including, but not limited to, the child's residence, education, health care, and religious training. The child may have a primary residence with one parent or one parent may be designated sole power for decisions regarding a specific matter, but in theory both parents still have equal rights and responsibilities for the other decisions. In Oregon the court will not order joint custody of the objection of either party. Agreeing to joint custody may affect your rights at a later date. Joint custody should not be entered into without first obtaining sound legal advice.

Can a Child Custody Agreement Be Modified?

Modifications of child custody and parenting time decisions can be made under certain circumstances. Whether a court will modify custody and parenting time depends on the individual facts in your case and how they are presented in court.

Contact us to discuss your best options for child custody or parenting time. We ensure your child's best interests will always be met. We can also provide legal assistance if you are considering modifying an existing child custody agreement.

Law Office of Stephen J. Bedor
4248 Galewood Street
Lake Oswego, OR 97035

Toll Free: 877-611-6793
Phone: 503-212-4878
Fax: 503-699-1811
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Easy access from I-5 and 217 intersection