Oregon Parenting Plan Lawyers
In Oregon divorces or during the separation of unmarried parents, parties must develop a schedule or “parenting plan” outlining each parent’s time with the children. This was formerly referred to as defining “physical custody” of the children or “visitation rights” for one parent. In Oregon, we now refer to each parent’s time with the children as “parenting time.” In most cases, parents develop their own plan. If the parties are unable to agree on the plan themselves, then ultimately a trial judge will design a plan.
For the most part, parenting plans can be flexible and designed to fit each family’s needs. However, there are several over-arching concerns that the court expects to be address. ORS 107.101 sets forth the state’s policy regarding parenting, which are discussed in more detail below.
(1) Assure minor children of frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interests of the child.
In the past, “standard” parenting plans have contemplated every-other-weekend time for the non-primary parent (usually fathers). However, as more psychological research is done on divorcing families, it has become apparent that more frequent contact is often more supportive of children. This is particularly true for very young children, who cannot go two weeks without seeing one parent. Courts and experts are moving towards more creative parenting schedules, taking into consideration factors such as the child’s age and development levels, the parents’ work schedules, the children’s activities, etc.
A good parenting plan will include not just the regular weekly schedule, but also have provisions for holidays and vacations. Detail is best — this means including beginning and ending times, so there is no question about what “Sunday morning” means. Parents may always be flexible, but if a dispute occurs, they will have a clear plan to fall back upon.
(2) Encourage such parents to share in the rights and responsibilities of raising their children after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage.
Recent research has shown that children of divorced parents to best when they know both parents are involved in their lives – that their parents know their teachers, friends, coaches, etc. Kids need to know that both parents are there to help get them to practices, attend school plays, arrange play dates, and generally be supportive of helping the child grow into a successful adult.
(3) Encourage parents to develop their own parenting plan with the assistance of legal and mediation professionals, if necessary.
Parents should avoid relying on the court to develop a parenting plan. While our judges do the best they can with the limited information presented to them, they are not immersed in the children’s lives. Parents are generally much better equipped to consider family traditions, schedules, and how each child will handle transitions, and to create a parenting plan that works for the children taking those issues into consideration. When parents agree, they can develop clear rules for any number of issues – how transitions will occur, who will drive the children, safety language, return of clothing/belongings, how to handle new intimate partners, etc. A judge is more likely to give the broad brush schedule – school year, vacation, holidays.
(4) Grant parents and courts the widest discretion in developing a parenting plan.
This is key – the court and the parents have the ability to do whatever is in the children’s best interests when developing a parenting plan. In some cases, this has meant installing a breathalyzer on a parent’s car, or subjecting a parent to random drug tests. In other cases, this has meant developing separate plans for individual children, given varying developmental needs.
(5) Consider the best interests of the child and the safety of the parties in developing a parenting plan.
Again, as noted above, the court’s main priority is to develop a parenting plan that considers the children’s best interests, as well as the safety of all concerned. Keeping that goal at the forefront will help the parties prepare a thoughtfully constructed plan that avoids conflict as much as possible post-divorce.
For any parenting plan, facts are critical. Our attorneys will discuss your existing parenting plan, historical facts about your relationship, and what your goals are for your child, along with many other questions. Call one of our parenting plan attorneys today to discuss your options.
What To Expect In An Oregon Parenting Plan Consultation
As a service to clients, we meet with all potential clients in person, preferably with two attorneys, for the first consultation. This allows us to determine which lawyer is best-suited for any given case, based on the subject matter and the client’s personality. In addition to the client getting two-for-the-price-of-one, this allows both lawyers to meet potential clients and hear the background of each case. Although ultimately only one lawyer will handle the case, the other will then know the basics of each case and can answer questions when a client calls. We offer this initial consultation for a flat-fee of $100.00.
When starting the process for finding an attorney for an Oregon parenting plan, potential clients often ask “who is the best parenting plan attorney in Oregon” or the “who is the best attorney for to help me design a parenting plan in Portland?” The answer is: the attorney who gets the results you need. Like the rest of family law, there is not one-size-fits-all when it comes to selecting an lawyer for your parenting plan. 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 family law attorneys and divorce lawyers today to set up a consultation.