Oregon Divorce Frequently Asked Questions
No information below should be relied upon as formal legal advice. These answers should not be used in place of a personal consultation with a qualified lawyer.
What are the child custody factors in Oregon?
Oregon law directs that the court consider the following factors when deciding which parent will be awarded custody of minor children:
- the emotional ties between the child and other family members;
- the interest of the parent in the child and the parent’s attitude toward the child;
- the desirability of continuing an existing relationship;
- the abuse of one parent by another;
- the preference for the primary caregiver of the child, if the caregiver is deemed fit by the court; and
- the willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child.
With regard to the last factor, the court may not consider such willingness and ability if one parent shows that the other parent has sexually assaulted or engaged in a pattern of behavior of abuse against the parent or a child and that a continuing relationship with the other parent will endanger the health or safety of either parent or the child.
In practical terms, this means that the parent who has accepted primary responsibility for bringing up the child in the past will probably be awarded the care and custody of the child in the future provided that parent encourages on-going contact between the children and the other parent. The non-custodial parent will be allowed reasonable parenting time based on the child’s needs. Oregon law calls this parenting schedule a “parenting plan.”