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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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  • Gift from God

    “Well I was recommended to Me Baxter from another local attorney that handled my complicated caseloads for years before we had a falling out due to my inability to communicate. So I have God on my side and some criminal and civil cases that are very complex and from what I've heard and my faith that God has pointed me in the right direction I look forward to working with Casey and his team!”

    John

  • The extra mileThe extra mileThe extra mileThe extra mile

    “Mr. Baxter and his staff care. Plain and simple. They care what happens to you. From the first meeting I never felt like a name or a number. I was a person whose outcome mattered. I was charged with two felonies and without the hard work and knowledge of the courtroom that Casey provided their is no doubt I would have been convicted. It was amazing to watch Casey battle back when things seemed to be going the other way. He studied case files and did his homework late into the night so as to insure a favorable outcome. I'm so thankful I didn't plea bargain and allowed Casey to show me his skills. His knowledge at times seem to even help the judge. The cocky District Attorney who felt he had it wrapped up truly walked away with his head hung. Casey Baxter knows the courtroom, he knows the law, he knows what will work and not work and most of all he respects his clients. He understands and cares about the fact that his performance will have a profound effect on your life. I interviewed 7 lawyers in the area. Casey was the last one I interviewed. So thankful I went with Baxter Law as today Iam a free man and can get on with my life. Thank you Casey. Thank you Emily :)”

    Mark U.

  • I would highly recommend Mr. Baxter.

    “Mr. Baxter was very helpful and very knowledgeable concerning the specifics of my case. He essentially streamlined the court process for me, which allowed me to focus on the end details of my case, rather than worry about what possible outcomes there could be. Instead of ending up with two convictions, I was able to enroll in the diversion program, take traffic school, and pay the fines. We all make mistakes, and I was very glad that Mr. Baxter was there to help me with my case. I would highly recommend Mr. Baxter.”

    Anonymous

  • Lawyers who truly care

    “The lawyers and staff at Baxter Harder are very knowledgeable and professional in every aspect of their company. They are by far the best team to have on your side when tackling confusing and frustrating legal issues. They are lawyers who truly care! Thank you Casey, Joseph, Emily, and Nicole so much for all you've done.”

    Jessica

  • In the end, all criminal charges were dropped.

    “I was referred to Casey from another attorney for my criminal charge of Vehicular Assault of a Pedestrian and Reckless Driving. Casey saw me right away and knew how to handle the case. Since Casey used to work for the District Attorney's office he knew the opposing attorney, their style, and how to direct the case. In the end, all criminal charges were dropped. Thank you Casey!”

    Anonymous