Portland Father’s Rights Lawyer

Father’s Rights in Oregon

Today’s family courts recognize that children deserve a loving bond with both parents. Gone are the days when courts immediately assumed that a child’s best interests were served by granting sole custody to the mother with limited parenting time for fathers. Today, the courts take a more child-focused approach, allowing father’s rights to be given equal weight when determining child custody and support matters.

The Role of the Father in the Child’s Life

Since mothers have historically been the primary caregivers in our culture, the courts in the past had given mothers priority when awarding custody. This has been rapidly changing, and courts across the country, including Oregon, now understand that they must evaluate both parties’ contributions and involvement for the good of the children. Under current Oregon law, fathers now have equal rights to custody and support. Consequently, courts are moving toward more equally shared parenting schedules.

A Father’s Rights After Divorce

A father has the same custody rights as the mother in the eyes of the court. This means:

  • Except for extreme factors, a father has the same rights and opportunities to be involved in their child’s life regularly as the mother.
  • The father has the right to request primary custody.
  • The father has the right to petition for child support from the other parent should he be named the primary custodial parent.
  • The father has a right to parenting time that is regular and reasonable if he is the non-custodial parent.

Family courts believe that the best agreements are those that are worked out and agreed upon by the couple themselves when it comes to support and custody. Consequently, the state of Oregon requires mediation in the majority of child support cases. If the couple cannot reach an agreement, it will be left to the court to decide what is in the child’s best interest.

What Factors are Considered When Determining Custody?

Many factors are considered when making determinations about child custody. These will include:

  • The age of the child
  • The parents’ relationship with the child
  • The mental and physical health of the parents
  • Emotional ties with other family members
  • The living conditions of the parents
  • Work obligations and schedules
  • If the parents are willing to support each other’s relationship with the child
  • Stability
  • Any history of abuse or family violence

The courts now understand that both parents fulfill the important needs of the child and strive to make custody decisions accordingly.

Unfortunately, in contested divorces, fathers often face old biases in court decisions about custody and support matters. In these cases, a father who is litigating custody and visitation rights should seek the representation of an experienced father’s rights attorney in Oregon to advocate for them.

What Are the Father’s Rights When the Couple is Not Married?

When a couple is married, the child’s paternity is automatic, and both parties have legal parenting rights. But in the case when a couple is unmarried, and paternity has not legally been established, a mother retains legal custody in Oregon, and the father has no rights regarding custody or parenting time.

In cases where a couple is not married, paternity must first be established. If the father’s name appears on the birth certificate, and both parties have executed an acknowledgment of paternity, the unmarried father will have rights and responsibilities toward the child.

If paternity has not been established or the parents disagree about the child’s paternity, the father, another family member, or legal appointee can still execute and file an acknowledgment of paternity. The court may then order a paternity test for confirmation. If the paternity test is conclusive, the court can then further decide on matters concerning custody, visitation, and child support.

Experienced Oregon Father’s Rights Attorneys

If you are a father who is dealing with custody issues, having an experienced advocate on your side is critical. At Jill Brittle Family Law Group, our experienced Portland father’s rights lawyers have a history of skillfully negotiating and defending a father’s right to an ongoing and meaningful relationship with his children. Contact us to schedule an initial consultation to discuss your legal rights and options.