Child Custody

The unavoidable stress of any breakup is compounded if you have children: custody determinations and childrearing decisions raise the level of emotion and potential for disagreement. I recognize the fundamental importance of your children not only to you but as people in their own right. I understand your desire to provide for your children’s future, preserve tender relationships and yet shield your children as much as possible from the stress of divorce. 

As a parent, it is your right to stay involved with your children, enjoying substantial time with them and have a voice in the major life decisions that will impact them as they grow.  It is important that you obtain favorable custody, time sharing and support arrangements for you and your children  I encourage you to learn as much as you can about Oregon law and what child professionals recommend for the most precious member(s) of your family. I encourage you to call me to discuss your family’s unique needs whether you are a professional working outside the home or have centered your work efforts within your home.

To get you started, understand that Oregon law recognizes the value of close contact between children and both parents after divorce. For that reason, the law encourages joint parental custody and joint responsibility for the welfare of the children with extensive contact between the children and both parents.  “Custody” in this sense means the legal responsibility for the primary care of a minor child; it does not mean where your child spends all his time.

“Joint custody” is shared custody, meaning that you and your spouse share responsibility for the major life decisions affecting your child, including, education, health care, residence and religion. It does not mean that the child spends equal time with you both. While the law encourages joint custody, the court cannot order it without the parties agreement. Thus, if you cannot agree, then the court will determine which parent should have custody.  To do tis, the Court will decide what is in the best interests of your child guided determined by a number of factors including:

  • The emotional ties between you both and your child;
  • Your attitudes toward your child
  • Any history of domestic violence
  • Under certain circumstances, your child’s preference for whichever of you has been the primary caregiver

The court generally will NOT consider (unless it affirmatively adversely affects the child):

  • Conduct leading to the breakdown of your marriage
  • Incomes
  • Parents’ Social environment or
  • Parent’s life style

In addition to custody, your, or, if you are unable, the court must determine “parenting time,” a term that replaced “visitation” in reference to the non custodial parent. Parenting time will be denied only if it would endanger the health or safety of your child. Parenting time is set forth in a “parenting plan,” that will be developed and that can include:


  • The schedule or calendar of time spent you each spend with your child,
  • How you will share and access information
  • Relocation
  • Telephone access
  • Transportation
  • Dispute resolution

I am committed to making sure you understand the law as it relates to your children.  Neither the law nor I assume a custodial preference based on gender. Nor do I make any assumptions about the delegation of duties. I have worked with ambitious, busy parents who are just as devoted to their children as their stay at home counterparts. I have represented parents who have foregone career and other life opportunities to devote their time fully to their children.  I consider child custody an essential part of your case that requires:

  • We prepare the best case for custody and parenting time that meets your children’s needs and yours
  • Thoroughly analyze child support guidelines to determine the monthly amount you will be ordered to pay or receive
  • Resolve any differences as to these questions through direct negotiation or mediation in order to limit any emotional impact to your children

I am dedicated to seeing you and your children through this process. Call me to discuss the best way to do that in your unique situation.

For additional information on the topics that follow, click on the link or locate them in the drop down list from the menu bar above:

International Custody


Parental Relocation



Child support 

Child Abduction – Interstate and International (Hague cases)

 Abuse and Neglect 


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