Portland Child Custody Modification Attorney
Child Custody Modification Lawyers Serving Portland, Oregon
Child custody may be modified in certain situations. When parents initially have joint custody and the co-parenting relationship has broken down, either parent may return to court and request that a judge makes a determination of which parent should have sole custody. To modify a determination of sole custody, a parent must prove that there has been a substantial change in circumstances as to a parent’s ability to parent. Further, the change of custody must be in the children’s best interests. This is when you will need an experienced Portland child custody modification attorney.
As a general rule, judges do not like to change custody of a child once it has already been decided. Changing custody can be disruptive to the child and is often perceived to not be in the child’s best interest. Further, unlike when custody is first decided, there is a higher burden to change custody once it has already been determined. Nonetheless, there are certainly legitimate circumstances under which courts can and will modify child custody. Some examples where a change of custody might be appropriate include:
- The custodial parent is moving away. If a court determines the child should not relocate with the moving parent, then this circumstance could necessitate a change in custody.
- The custodial parent is not performing the duties of a custodial parent. For example, if the custodial parent is not getting the child adequate medical care or not attending to the child’s educational needs, this could form the basis for a change of custody.
- Neglect or abuse by a custodial parent undoubtedly could cause the court to change custody. Note that “neglect” or “abuse” are serious circumstances. Simply allowing the child to watch too much TV, eat too much sugar, or not enforcing a strict bedtime are not the types of parenting that rise to the level of “abuse” or “neglect.”
- For whatever reason, the child is not thriving with the present custodial parent. Constant conflict, an unstable living environment, or other factors that are causing the child unusual physical, educational, or emotional turmoil may be considered by the court. This could include excessive conflict with a new spouse, partner, or step-sibling.
- Note that a parent losing a job is not necessarily a substantial change of circumstance sufficient to modify custody of a child. As a general rule, a parent’s financial hardship will not be used against that parent to cause them to lose custody. If for some reason the financial circumstance becomes so dire that the child is being adversely harmed, this may be considered by the court (i.e. malnutrition, houselessness, lack of access to adequate medical care).
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but are examples of the types of circumstances that might constitute a “substantial change in circumstance.” Custody modification cases are very challenging. A Portland child custody modification attorney can help guide you through the process. Call us today to discuss the facts of your case.
What To Expect Oregon Child Custody Modification Consultation
We meet with all potential clients in person for the first consultation. This allows us to meet potential clients and hear the background of each case, to determine if your case is a good fit for our office, and to provide information about a client’s rights and responsibilities under Oregon law. We offer this initial consultation for a flat fee.
When starting the process for finding a lawyer, potential clients often ask “who is the best child custody lawyer in Oregon” or the “who is the best lawyer to change child custody in Portland?” The answer is the lawyer who gets the results you need. Like the rest of family law, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to selecting a family law attorney. The best attorney for you is the one who listens to your circumstances, provides solid legal advice, and facilitates and achieves your goals. Contact one of our Portland child custody modification attorneys today to set up a consultation.
Child Custody Modification in Portland
Many changes will happen throughout a family’s life together. And there are times when these life changes will require that one parent seek a modification to the existing child custody arrangements.
Once sole custody is awarded to one parent, it can be difficult to modify it. But when life circumstances have changed for parents that are affecting the welfare of the child, the court may choose to modify the custodial designation.
Under What Circumstances Will the Court Modify a Custody Arrangement in Oregon?
The court will only modify custody if the change is found to be in the child’s best interests, which is the criteria that the court holds most important. But there are times when joint custody has broken down, the custodial arrangement is no longer working, or the custodial parent must relocate which may necessitate a custody modification.
The court will require that the parent seeking modification offer evidence that a substantial and unanticipated change has occurred since the prior custody award and that the change impacts a parent’s ability to make good decisions for the children. If the court has found that a valid change has occurred, they will consider a modification if they deem it in the child’s best interests.
Some of these include but are not limited to:
- When a custodial parent must relocate — In this case, he or she must notify the court and the non-moving parent prior to any relocation. In Oregon, parents cannot move more than sixty miles from the other parent without advance notice.
- When co-parenting has broken down during joint custody
- When a custodial parent is no longer fit to act as a custodial parent as in cases of drug or alcohol abuse, neglect, physical abuse, domestic violence
- When the custodial parent is not acting as a custodial parent as in cases of failure to provide for medical or educational needs or abdicating other parenting duties
- When a child is not thriving in the custodial home due to a living environment or other factors causing physical, educational, or emotional disruption to the child
- When an older child states a preference to live with the non-custodial parent
- Improvement in the non-custodial parent’s situation if this was used in the initial custody determination
Financial hardship or job loss is not typically a cause for child custody modification. If circumstances become extreme and the child suffers the consequences, such as houselessness, hunger, or lack of medical care, the court will consider the modification.
Experienced Child Custody Lawyers in Portland
When a parent is requesting a custody modification, it is crucial to work with a Portland child custody modification attorney with extensive experience in successfully pursuing custody modifications with the court. No matter the reason for the modification, a family lawyer skilled in handling modifications between the parties and in court ensures the protection of everyone, but particularly the child.
If you are considering a custody modification, the experienced Portland child custody modification attorneys at Jill Brittle Family Law Group will look at the facts surrounding your case and offer you legal options. Contact us to schedule a consultation.