One of your main concerns during your divorce is likely who will get custody of your children. In order to get an idea of how custody arrangements work out, it is helpful to understand the laws in Oregon about this issue.

According to the Oregon Judicial Branch, the main priority in custody and parenting time decisions is the best interest of the children.

Basics of custody in Oregon

 The term custody refers to the legal authority to make significant decisions about your children. These decisions include those relating to education, religion, health care and residence. A judge may choose to award either joint or sole custody.

Joint custody means you and the other parent have decision-making rights and responsibilities. Contrary to popular belief, joint custody does not mean your children spend equal time living with both parents. Additionally, a judge cannot give joint custody unless both of you are in agreement about it.

If either of you disagree about joint custody, or the judge determines it is best to award only one of you with major decision-making rights, a judge may decide on sole custody. Sole custody means only the custodial parent has the power to make major decisions about the child’s life.

Determining factors

 Here are some factors the court will consider when deciding how to award custody:

  • The primary caregiver’s preference
  • Each parent’s attitude toward and interest in the children
  • The relationship between the children and other relatives
  • Any history of domestic violence, abuse or neglect
  • The ability and willingness of each parent to encourage an ongoing relationship between the children and the other parent
  • The children’s wishes

The overarching goal is to decide what is most beneficial for the children.

This is educational information about custody in Oregon and does not constitute legal counsel.