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Oregon Divorce 101: Intro to Child Custody

Posted by attorney Jeffrey Traylor

Custody Generally. Custody is a word that is often misunderstood by individuals making their way through a divorce or custody matter. Custody is on more and no less than the legal right to make decisions for a child that effect both parents and the child. Examples of decisions the custodial parent might make over the objection of the non-cusodial parent are what church to attend or rituals to adhere to, whether or not to have an elective medical procedure, and whether the child will attend public or private school.

Custody is not Parenting Time. Custody is not the right to have "parenting time" with a child, nor does it vest exclusive parenting time in the custodial parent or remove all parenting time from the non-custodial parent. In Oregon there will be a custody determination and a parenting time deterimination. Parenting time is who will have the child when, and for how long. In 99.9% of cases the non-custodial parent has parenting time with the child and during that parenting time, they are in charge of the day to day decsision and parenting for and concerning the child. Many parents are more concerned with custody when what they should really be concerned with is parenting time.

Being the Non-Custodial Parent does not Eliminate your Parental rights. As mentioned above, the non-cusotdial parent generally still has parenting time with the child, and during their time they are in charge of all of the regular things a parent is in charge of. Courts rarely put restrictions on a parent's time (other than supervision in certain cases) and when they do the restrictions tend to be very limited. ORS 107.154 lists the specific rights fo the non custodial parent which are (1) To inspect and receive school records and consult with the staff, (2) To inspect and receive government and law enforcement records of the child, (3) To consult with and receive records from any medical or heath care professional treating the child, (4) To authorize emergency medical, dental, or mental care for the child if the custodial parent is unavailable, and (5) to apply to be the childs conservator, guardian ad-litem, or both.

Custody Types: There are two types of custody, joint and sole. The court will not and cannot award joint custody to parents unless they agree. If one parent requests sole custody the court will be forced to make a decision on who gets custody. Joint custody generally means that the parents will participate in all decision making regarding the child, and in the instance they don't agree they will be back in court litigating custody. For this reason it is important that before you agree to joint custody you determine whether you think you and the other parent will be likely to agree on EVERYTHING, otherwise joint custody will almost surely land you back in court.

As always, if you need more in depth custody, divice, or family law advice, don't hesitate to contact Multnomah Legal. A Multnomah Legal we strive to live up to our motto which is "your family's lawyer". Good luck!

Jeffrey K. Traylor

Multnomah Legal LLC

1500 SW 1st Ave., Ste. 920

Portland, OR 97201

Phone: (503) 427-8054

Fax: (503) 715-5660

Portland, Multnomah, and Clackamas County Divorce and Custody Lawyer

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