In determining custody of a child, the court’s primary consideration is “the best interests and welfare of the child.” This standard is used in both preliminary custody determinations and custody modifications. However, in custody modification cases, the court looks to what has changed since the original custody case concluded.
Oregon law lists several factors to consider when determining what is in a child’s best interests. These include emotional ties to family members, the parents’ interest in and attitude toward the child, the abuse of one parent by another, the primary caregiver relationship, and the willingness to facilitate a close relationship between the child and the other parent.
Some fathers fear that the courts view them unfavorably when it comes to custody issues. The law expressly states that no preference should be given to the mother for the sole reason that she is the mother, nor should any preference be given to the father for the sole reason that he is the father. The law also says that the conduct, marital status, lifestyle, and income should only be considered if those issues are causing emotional or physical damage to the child. This is a relief to know in a variety of situations, such as when one party has significantly more money than the other.
Custody is a complex issue with many pitfalls. It often takes an an experienced and knowledgeable custody attorney to present your case in its most favorable light.