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Work with Our Child Custody Attorney in Oregon

Custody in Oregon generally means a person’s ability to make major legal decisions effecting a child and is often referred to as “legal custody.” “Legal custody” is often confused with “physical custody” which simply means that a child is living primarily with a particular party. When a party is given “legal custody” of a child, that party is often referred to as the “custodial parent” and they are responsible for making major decisions affecting the child’s health and wellbeing.

Typical major decisions that a custodial parent may make include the child's religious and educational training, health care and where the child's primary residence is. Legal custody comes in only two forms, “sole custody” and “joint custody.” If legal custody has never been established by a court, no person has “legal custody.” Importantly, custody does not mean the right to spend time with a child, that is called “parenting time” and is determined separately from custody.

Joint Custody in Oregon

Under Oregon law, “Joint Custody,” often referred to as “joint legal custody,” means a person’s ability to make major decisions affecting a child’s health and wellbeing that is shared with another party; any party with joint custody may make major decisions. Importantly, joint custody can only be ordered by the court if both parties agree. Joint custody does not necessarily mean that the parties share parenting time with a child equally.

Sole Custody in Oregon

Under Oregon law, “Sole Custody” means one party is given sole decision making authority over major decisions affecting a child’s health and wellbeing. If parties do not agree to share joint custody, the court must award sole custody to one party. Granting sole custody to a party does not necessarily mean that party is deprived of equal parenting time with a child.

Best Interests of the Child

In Oregon, when the parties do not both agree to share in joint custody of a child and a court is asked to determine whom should be granted sole custody, the court will look at the parties’ and the child’s circumstances to determine what may be best for the child. The court is guided by several statutory factors which are known as “the Best Interest of the Child.” These factors include the emotional ties between the child and other family members, the interests of the parties in and attitude toward the child, the desirability of continuing an existing relationship, abuse of one parent by the other; 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. No single factor is decisive on its own.

Determining Custody of a Child in Oregon

Custody of a child in Oregon is usually determined when two previously married parents are now seeking a divorce, separating, or seeking an annulment of their marriage. In this circumstance, custody of a child is but one of the issues that must be determined when a marriage is terminated. Custody may also be determined between two unmarried parents have never formally established their respective parenting rights as to a child, this is called an initial custody determination. An initial custody determination begins when one party files a “Petition for Custody” and then that party is called the “Petitioner.”

Any interested party who may also rights with regards to a child must be served with the Petition and that part is then called a “Respondent.” The case concludes when the court enters a judgment. Most often when the court is asked to determine custody of a child, the court is also asked to determine the parties’ respective right to spend time with the child, often known as parenting time or visitation. Often the court will also be asked to determine if child support should be ordered and if so, how much and whom should pay.

Contact our Bend family law attorney at your earliest convenience.

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Client Reviews & Testimonials

  • We appreciate all that Casey provided for our family and will refer him to others.

    “Casey Baxter was retained by myself and my husband to assist with a DUI case for my husband. My husband was sick at the time battling cancer and Casey was instrumental in assisting us with the communication to the DA to allow my husbands case to be set forward while he was going through treatments. Unfortunately for my husband he lost his battle with Cancer and had it not been for Casey we would have had much more to worry about than his care. Because Casey took on the task of communicating with the DA and the courts we were able to spend the quality time with my husband that he needed before he passed.”

    Anonymous

  • I can look toward a better tomorrow because of what he accomplished.I can look toward a better tomorrow because of what he accomplished.

    “Casey Baxter has been the most amazing attorney, and has truly changed the course of my future. He took the time to listen to me explain about everything that was going on in my life, not just about what happened on the day of my incident, and was able to get the judge to listen as well. He was able to change the outcome into something that was actually manageable for me. He and his staff were always available whenever I needed to ask a question or make a change. I am very grateful for all he has done for me and can look toward a better tomorrow because of what he accomplished.”

    Tessa

  • All around a FANTASTIC attorney!!!!

    “I would recommend Casey to anyone needing a criminal defense attorney. Casey has fought on my behalf in the Deschutes County court system for almost a year now. He was granted to me as my public defender. I've never seen an attorney work harder for a client. He has been compassionate and supportive...from day one he explained each facet of my case to me in terms I could understand, and walked me through each step of the legal process of my case. Because of Casey's experience and hard work, I was able to present the state with positive proof of my own progress and get two of my charges dismissed and my original charge continued on a conditional discharge. Casey helped me show the state that I had worked very hard to change my life and lifestyle...and he went above and beyond to make sure I was given credit for all of my hard work. All around a FANTASTIC attorney!!!!”

    Polly

  • Saved my life

    “Thank you all for the hard work. I was facing three felonies which thanks to Casey Baxter, Thaddeus Bentz, and Amy Margolis was able to plea to one misdemeanor. You guys saved my life!!”

    Jason

  • DUI, Reckless, and Interfering Defense

    “I selected Mr. Baxter to defend me against charges stemming from a DUI arrest. In addition to the DUI, I was also charged with reckless driving and interfering with the duties of a peace officer. Mr. Baxter's calm demeanor and support during this difficult, embarrassing incident were his primary assets. His extensive experience working in Deschutes County, in particular the District Attorney's office, also were factors in my decision. In the end, Mr. Baxter was able to get the Reckless and Interfering Charges dismissed and I am currently enrolled in diversion for the DUI. This was the best possible scenario I could have envisioned after facing the possibility of additional charges that would have resulted in substantial penalties. I have certainly learned a life lesson as a result of this arrest and am thankful to Mr. Baxter for his representation.”

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