When discussing child custody during a divorce in Oregon, it is important to note that there is not simply one type of custody arrangement that all parents must adhere to. Aside from sole and joint custody, there may also be various arrangements, such as sole physical custody for one parent with joint legal custody between both parents. Before determining what child custody arrangement would be in the best interests of the child, divorcing couples would be well-advised to learn the various types of custody.
Legal custody refers to the legal authority for a parent to make important decisions for their child. These decisions could range from topics like education and religion to medical treatment. Sole legal custody gives only one parent the ability to make these decisions, while joint legal custody requires that parents discuss these decisions and come to an agreement.
Aside from legal custody, there is also physical custody, which dictates where the child will live. Like legal, physical custody may be either sole or joint. If the parents plan to live far enough apart that it may present a strain on the child, sole physical custody will generally be awarded to one of the parents. If they plan on living close together and both want joint custody, then it is likely that they may be granted joint physical custody.
Each type of arrangement can present with its own positive and negative aspects on a child. For instance, with sole custody, a child does not have to be subjected to constantly moving back and forth between homes, such as with joint physical custody. However, the downside to this may be that the child loses a relationship with one of his or her parents. Before coming to any decision on a child custody arrangement, Oregon parents may choose to carefully evaluate the various types of custody before coming to a mutual agreement or meeting with a third-party mediator for an unbiased opinion. In some instances, the parents may have to proceed to the court, where a judge will determine custody according to the best interests of the child.
Source: FindLaw, "The Various Types of Child Custody", , Sept. 1, 2014