For parents, one of the most difficult aspects of divorce is creating a child custody agreement. Most Oregon parents agree that child custody should be based on whatever is in the best interests of the child, but it can be difficult to keep emotions out of the process. We understand the unique needs of parents during this time of their lives.
It is important for parents to understand that there are multiple components of a custody agreement. Child custody refers to the power to make decisions that will affect a child's life, whereas parenting time is the actual physical time each parent is allotted to spend with the child. Since a significant number of factors go into creating an agreement, sharing joint custody does not necessarily indicate equal parenting time.
Joint custody has become an increasingly popular choice, but judges typically abstain from approving this option if both parents do not agree to it. When parents do not agree to joint child custody, one parent will maintain full custody, which grants him or her the power to make most of the decisions regarding the child. These decisions relate to religion, education and healthcare.
Parenting time is sometimes referred to as visitation and is outlined in a parenting plan. The parenting plan is usually created by both of the parents, although this can require a great amount of joint effort. Negotiations usually occur with the presence of both parents' attorneys and, in some cases, mediation is also necessary.
Even when divorce is the most appropriate course of action, most parents still understand the importance of working with their ex to create the best child custody solutions possible. Still, the process can be difficult and emotionally taxing, making it difficult to focus on what matters -- the best interests of the child. With our years of experience and dedicated knowledge of Oregon family law, we make sure that all of our clients are able to create the best possible custody plan.