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Temporary custody without divorce or legal separation in Oregon

Medford, OR |

My husband has recently moved out. I am hoping that this does not end in divorce, but I want to protect myself and our child in that event. What I am wondering is if I can file for temporary custody without having a divorce or legal separation case on file? Child support arrangements have already been considered, but we do not have any legal documents for that either. I want our marriage to work and do not want to take steps to dissolve it, but I dont want him to be able to come and take our child and me not have a leg to stand on! Please help.

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Attorney answers 1


In the short view, "custody" is a powerful word that is often described as the objective of a "battle." Let's hope you and your husband can continue to to work on your relationship and your parenting plan, whether your marriage dissolves or not.

You must file a case to confer jurisdiction on the court.

But your trepidation about losing your parental rights strikes me as premature. The court presumes that it is in a child's best interest for custody to be awarded to the primary residential parent. The court is also likely, however, to grant significant periods of parenting time to the so-called "non-custodial" parent.

Without a case file, there is no issue presented and therefore no legal remedy.

I'd suggest that you consider filing a petition for a limited separation. A separation judgment can provide that the separation will expire after a period of time. Then, the parties return to their status as married people unless they decide they'd rather be divorced).

In your situation, you might benefit from a limited separation. This would enable you to ask immediately for temporary orders on parenting time and a limited judgment awarding child support. All other issues could remain dormant as you attempt a reconciliation. There would be no pressure from the court to enter a divorce judgment and your case could easily be dismissed if there were a reconciliation.

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