Types of Child Custody in Oregon
There are two kinds of child custody under Oregon law: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody involves the authority to make important decisions for a child, such as where the child attends school, the kind of health care a child receives, and the type of religious training a child receives. If both parents agree, they may have joint legal (decision making) custody. If one parent objects to a joint custody arrangement, then one parent will be awarded legal custody. If there is a dispute about legal custody, and both parents are equally fit and without significant issues, under Oregon law, the parent who has been primarily responsible for the child’s care will generally be awarded legal custody.
Physical custody deals with where the child primarily resides, as well as the "out" parent’s time with the child. Every judgment involving child custody must include a “parenting plan.” Parenting plans may be general or detailed. As a practical matter, the best result for a child is for the parents to work together on what parenting time is in the child’s best interest. To avoid disputes, however, it is generally a good idea to have a “default” parenting plan, which sets forth the contact each parent has with the child, in the event the parents disagree. The parenting plan should address each parent’s weekly contact with the child, the allocation of school and legal holidays, and vacations. In addition, a parenting plan may address issues such as who provides transportation, what happens to parenting time when a child is ill, telephone contact, and other issues to facilitate the parenting plan.
Here's Some More Good Information on Child Custody and Parenting Plans
The Oregon State Judicial Department has a very informative web site, which contains information about custody, parenting plans, and other information.
Our Approach to Child Custody and Parenting Plans
At Zimmer, Bond, Fay & Overlund, we understand that parents with children will necessarily have to civilly deal with each other long after their divorce if their children are to thrive and succeed. We therefore take a long term view of custody disputes: both parents and their children are better served if the parents control the outcome of custody disputes. A “scorched earth” approach to custody disputes will only result in long term damage to children and families.
Therefore, our primary goal is to encourage parents to resolve disputes peacefully and equitably. If they cannot agree, we encourage resolution of child custody and parenting time disputes with a skilled mediator.
However, in those instances where the parents have a custody conflict that cannot be resolved between the parents or in mediation, we are prepared to resolve that conflict in a manner that serves both our client and the best interest of the child. This may include the appointment of an attorney for a child, the appointment of a custody evaluator, a trial on the custody dispute, and an appeal of the trial court’s decision about custody. Whatever the circumstances, the law firm of Zimmer, Bond, Fay & Overlund is committed to resolving custody disputes in a manner that will best serve our clients' and their children's long term interests.