My ex-girlfriend and I have a 1 month old baby boy. We are co-parenting and agreed to try and make it a 50-50% situation. As it is now, she decides when I can have him. She has him 80% of the time. There's no indication that I'm a bad father or a danger. Recently, I asked if I could have him from 8am-8pm, instead of 8-5. This angered her and her mother and they threatened court ordered visitation. What would most likely happen if we went to court? What do I need to do to benefit most from it? She's undiagnosed bipolar. By the way, it's Yamhill county. Any details, legal, financial, etc. would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much.
Hire a lawyer. If you want more stable parenting time, you will need to get a formal custody order established, otherwise under any informal agreement such as the situation you describe in your post you will be subject to the whim of the other parent with primary physical custody. Of course with an infant, the mother (based on the feeding needs of the child) presumably will be given more time with the child to take care of those needs. Please be aware that establishing a custody plan will necessarily result in establishment and formalization of your child support obligations towards your child.
When custody is established, a court usually also decides the amount of parenting time for the non-custodial parent. Like custody, parenting time is based on the “best interests of the child.” Determining what is in a child’s best interests necessitates an inquiry into a variety of factors, including statutes (laws), appellate cases interpreting the laws, and administrative rules. ORS 107.137 requires a court to consider the following factors equally when determining child custody:
The emotional ties between the child and other family members,
Which parent has historically been the children's primary caregiver, the length of time the children have lived in a stable, satisfactory environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity for that child,
The love, affection and other emotional ties existing between the parties involved and the child,
The capacity and disposition of the parents to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care or other remedial care recognized and permitted under the laws of this state in place of medical care, and other material needs,
Whether one parent is more likely to help the other parent keep a close relationship with the children, unless one parent shows that the other parent has been abusive and that a continuing relationship with the children would be dangerous for either the parent or the children,
Whether there has been any abuse of one parent by the other (Oregon law presumes that it is not best for the child to be in the custody of a parent who has abused the other parent), and
The preference of the child, if the court considers the child to be old enough to express a preference.
A parent’s conduct, marital status, income, social environment or lifestyle can also be considered when determining what is in a child’s best interests, but only if it is shown that those factors are causing or may cause emotional or physical damage to the child.
A parenting plan needs to be flexible enough to allow both parents the time they need to see their child but detailed enough to provide guidance in case of a dispute. While many times there will be no disputes about parenting time, sometimes parties cannot resolve issues and those must be resolved in court.
When is each parent allowed to spend time with the child?
What drop off and pickup plans are needed?
What are your options when a parent interferes with parenting time?
When can the court modify and enforce child custody and parenting time agreements?
If you and the other parent cannot agree to a parenting schedule, the court will decide for you after receiving evidence from both sides.
The Oregon State Legislature has also determined that when making parenting plan agreements, it is the policy of the state to:
Assure minor children of frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interests of the child;
Encourage such parents to share in the rights and responsibilities of raising their children after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage;
Encourage parents to develop their own parenting plan with the assistance of legal and mediation professionals, if necessary;
Grant parents and courts the widest discretion in developing a parenting plan; and
Consider the best interests of the child and the safety of the parties
Child custody involves decisions about who will be responsible for a child, including parental rights, for both married and unmarried parents, and adoptions.
Child visitation refers to non-custodial parents' rights to visit their children. These rights are commonly detailed in a visitation plan.
Written by attorney Patrick Chatterton
As a father, you want what is best for your child. This is especially true during the difficult circumstances surrounding and following a divorce. Divorce is one of the most stressful... more
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