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Important facts about child custody in Oregon

When a husband and wife opt to divorce, they will face many tough decisions over the division of their assets and how their lives will be lived separately. For parents who get divorced, probably no decisions will be as difficult as the ones concerning child custody. Custody arrangements have long-term implications, so it may be helpful to know a little more about custody rulings in Oregon.

There are two types of custody arrangements possible: joint custody and sole custody. The meanings of each term seem largely self-evident. However, there is more to each of them than is apparent based on name alone. 

In a joint custody arrangement, both parents share equally in the decision-making process for the child's upbringing. This might include religious instruction, medical decisions and how and where the child will be educated. Even a child who lives with only one parent 100 percent of the time can be said to be in joint custody. However, joint custody must be agreed to by both parents.

If joint custody cannot be agreed upon, the judge will award sole custody to one parent. This parent is then entitled to make all major decisions about the child's welfare. Before making a decision, the judge will consider a variety of relevant factors, such as each parent's attitude towards the child, emotional bonds and if there has been a history of abuse. Expert witnesses may also be called in to testify in a custody case, including social workers, teachers and psychologists. Testimony of the parents and others who know the child may be considered as well.

Of course, parenting arrangements don't end with a custody settlement. Support payments may be required by the court. Parenting time may also need to be worked out. In fact, child custody may be the most complicated and emotional part of a divorce. The process may be made a little easier, however, by working with a compassionate lawyer experienced with family law cases in Oregon.

Source: courts.oregon.gov, "Custody and Parenting Time", Accessed on Dec. 13, 2016

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