A party’s right to spend time with a child is called parenting time or visitation and is separate and distinct from the issue of Custody of a Child in Oregon. For example, the parties may share joint custody of a child but parenting time may not be equal or one of the parties may be granted with sole custody of the child but the parties share parenting time on an equal basis.
In Oregon, when the parties do not both agree to a schedule of parenting time, usually called a parenting plan, 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 are the same factors the court will look at in order to determine custody of a child and 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.
Depending on the county in which the case is filed, the court may have established what are known as standard parenting plans which are meant to guide the parties in crafting their own parenting plan. Usually, these standard parenting plans automatically take into account the age of the parties’ child and the distance between the parties. These parenting plans by no means fit ever situation and thus are usually used as a starting point to craft a specific parenting plan which is in the child’s best interest given the circumstances of the parties and the child.
This can be a complicated area of the law. For more information, please contact an attorney at Baxter Harder, LLC.