Child Custody

Gresham Child Custody Lawyers

Parenting Time

Oregon does not use the word ‘visitation’ when it describes the time a parent has with their child, but rather ‘parenting time’. This is more respectful to both parents’ roles in the child’s life as parents. Oregon judges take an inclusive approach to parenting and believe frequent contact between minor children and both parents is essential to adequate child development. When there are safety concerns about a parent, the Oregon law provides solutions for that problem.


Oregon does still use the word ‘custody’ to describe a parent’s right to make decisions for a child. If one parent has sole custody, then that custodial parent can make major decisions about medical, education, religion or other major decisions even if the other parent disagrees. If the parents share joint custody, then both parents must agree on major decisions, but a court won’t order ‘joint custody’ unless both parties agree to share this function. What is important to remember is that ‘custody’ has little to do with how much ‘parenting time’ a parent has. Moreover, one parent having sole custody does not mean the other parent does not have substantial rights to be involved in a variety of ways including the children’s education, medical treatment, religion, nor does it eliminate a non-custodial parent’s right to make emergency decisions.

Third Party Custody and Parenting Rights

There can be a big difference between a biological father or mother and a ‘parent’. Oregon law acknowledges that there are ‘psychological parents’ that may not have biological ties.  Oregon judges often support a child’s psychological need to remain in frequent contact with their psychological parent, and/or ‘parent-like’ relationships regardless of biology.  Oregon has even granted a right called ‘Third- Party Custody” to non-biological psychological parents who have been doing the lion’s share of raising a child, and for a substantial period of time.  Under certain circumstances, Oregon also allows ‘parenting time’ to persons who have created a familial relationship with a minor child, such as a step-parent.  You should consult with an attorney to see if your circumstances qualify as there are many important factors that would need to be present.

Multnomah/Clackamas County Parenting Time Attorneys

After the parents make a decision regarding custody, a parenting time plan is required to establish the roadmap that is the outline of the time each parent will have with the children. The state of Oregon has prepared a guideline and suggested methods to create a parenting plan that may work for you. However, parenting time plans can be as individual as your family’s needs. The court will usually approve a parenting plan when you and your spouse agree to the terms. There are many schedules that work, but a typical schedule is alternating weekends, dividing the summer months into longer times with each parent, rotate birthdays, Christmas and other holidays, plus additional or different times as you may agree upon. Your attorney or mediator can assist you with developing a plan, or a professional may be used if you do not agree. Ultimately, it will be up to the judge if you are unable to resolve a dispute over parenting time. If this is contested, you may wish the input of a family counselor to assist in arriving at a workable parenting plan.

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