Determining child custody is difficult for everyone involved. For grandparents who are not primarily responsible for the child's care, they may feel they will lose quality time with their grandchild if they or their child is not awarded custody, or if joint custody is awarded.
It can feel helpless to not have any say in the child custody arrangements. Thankfully, in Oregon your needs can be addressed.
State-recognized visitation rights
According to state law, any person who has established emotional ties that create a personal relationship with a child may petition or file a motion for intervention with the court having jurisdiction over the custody, placement or guardianship of said child. Those who have established such a relationship include foster parents, stepparents and grandparents.
If the court determines such a relationship exists, they can grant right to visitation or other rights such as custody, guardianship and more. The decision is made in the best interest of the child. They can decide whether to award visitation or contact rights over the objection of the legal parent, considering the following factors:
- The petitioner is or recently has been the child's primary caretaker
- Circumstances detrimental to the child exist if relief is denied
- The legal parent has fostered, encouraged or consented to the relationship between the child and the petitioner
- Granting relief would not substantially interfere with the custodial relationship, or the legal parent has unreasonably denied or limited contact between the child and the petitioner
The child's own wishes are not considered under Oregon law, so they will not be able to help you in seeking visitation rights, but the court will do its best to determine the child's best interests.
There are many reasons you may be seeking visitation rights or custody of your grandchild during a divorce or other family event, but whatever the reasons are you have a right to advocate for yourself. If you are seeking a custody or visitation arrangement with a grandchild, you can work with a family law attorney experienced in petitioning grandparents' rights to assert those rights and maintain your important relationship with the child.