The father of my two children left when I was 8 months pregnant with my now 7 year old. He lived in Oregon the same state as us for about 2 years then moved to another state had only came to visit maybe 3 times the last time being 2 years ago. He goes thou times of talking to them on the phone but had stopped for about a year then recently found out I'm pregnant and started insisting on talking to then nightly and is now telling me to either let the kids go there for a few weeks or he will come here and talk them back. I guess I'm just wondering will Oregon make me send them there or is it to much to ask that he comes to Oregon to visit? We don't have a set parenting plan yet since he just told me where he is.
There is no set law on this. The legal standard that governs a court's parenting time orders is supposed to be the best interests of the children. In practice, much will depend on what your family can support. If your co-parent has the resources to have the children travel to him, and if the children are mature enough to handle that, a court may well order that. But if not - and it seems unlikely that a 7-year-old could handle such travel - it's more likely that he'd be ordered to come to the children's area for parenting time.
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You have not told us what the current status is of the father's rights. Did he sign an affidavit of paternity? Is his name on the birth certificates? Were you actually married to him? Was there even any prior order with respect to custody and parenting time?
Before the question can be answered about future parenting time we need to know what the present legal status is. Generally speaking the court will order parenting time taking into account the current schedule of the children, particularly school age children, the ages of the children and whether they can safely travel to visit the other parent and the cost of the travel. So while allowing a parenting plan that has the children travel to visit an out of state parent is common, the court will want the travel to be during a time when the children aren't in school. The court will also expect a very young child that can't travel alone to be accompanied by an adult. So what sometimes happens is the out of state parent flies or drives to Oregon to pick up the young child and then takes them to their home for the visit and then brings them back. This can be done more easily and cost efficiently during the longer summer breaks.
The order for child support can also be adjusted to factor in travel costs. This could raise or lower the father's child support obligation.
What will probably happen first is something will be filed with the court that starts the process of setting up the parenting plan. Many courts have programs that will assist you in working on this plan. Both parents normally have to take parenting classes. Many courts offer a mediation program with a trained counselor that will help the parent formulate a plan. So there will be several stages that your case will go through and if you still can't work out something that you both agree to a Judge will set a hearing and listen to both sides and make a decisions, taking into account what is best for the child as Mr. Bodzin has indicated. It is a bit premature to worry about this.
I would highly recommend that you consult with an experienced family law attorney and hire the attorney to help you draft a proposed parenting time plan. Then send the proposed plan to the father and negotiate from there. Starting with a proposed plan may make the process a lot easier.
The comments by this author to questions posted on Avvo are designed to foster a general understanding of what might be the law governing the area of the legal problem stated and suggest what might be the approach to finding a legal solution. Under no circumstances is this author acting as the attorney for the party who posted the question or as the attorney for subsequent readers to the question or response and no attorney client relationship is being formed. This attorney's comments are not intended to be a substitute for getting legal advice from a licensed attorney. A reader of this author's comments should never act on the information provided in these comments as though these comments were legal advice and should always seek legal advice in a personal consultation with an attorney in their jurisdiction before taking action. The information provided here is not intended to cover every situation with similar facts. Please remember that the law varies between states and other countries and is always changing through actions of the courts and the Legislature.
Ms. Reisman's points are important because if there's no custody and parenting time judgment, no prior determination of paternity, and the father's name isn't on the birth certificate, then he actually has no enforceable parental rights at all yet.
I agree that expecting a 7-year old to travel out-of-state for parenting time is probably not going to be seen as in the children's best interests. Another important argument against this (beyond just traveling alone) is that the father has been totally out of the picture for the last two years and absent for much of the 7-year old's life. Gradually increasing visits in Oregon so that a relationship of trust can develop would be a much better approach. It might also help to have someone that the children know and trust present for the first couple of visits.
My responses to posts on AVVO are not legal advice, nor do they create an attorney-client relationship. In order to provide true (and reliable) legal advice, an attorney must be able to ask questions of the person seeking legal advice and to thus gather the appropriate information. In order for an attorney-client relationship to exist, you and I both have to agree the the terms of such an agreement.
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