The following is a summary of Oregon child custody laws, and is by no means intended to be an all-inclusive description of what to expect in your particular case. In some cases, the exact text of the statute may have been simplified and/or modified to provide for easier understanding. For a more specific understanding of the laws, you should consult the full Oregon Code and/or consult with an attorney about how the law might apply to your particular situation.

Child Custody Guidelines.

Oregon laws require the court to give primary consideration to the best interests and welfare of the child when making a child custody determination. In determining the best interests and welfare of the child, the court shall consider the following relevant factors:

  1. The emotional ties between the child and other family members;
  2. The interest of the parties in and attitude toward the child;
  3. The desirability of continuing an existing relationship;
  4. The abuse of one parent by the other;
  5. The preference for the primary caregiver of the child, if the caregiver is deemed fit by the court; and
  6. The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child, unless there has been sexual assault or a pattern of abuse against the parent or the child that will endanger the health or safety of either parent or the child.

The best interests and welfare of the child shall not be determined by isolating any one of these factors, and relying on it to the exclusion of other factors. However, if a parent has committed abuse, there is a rebuttable presumption that it is not in the best interests and welfare of the child to award sole or joint custody of the child to the parent who committed the abuse.

The court shall consider the conduct, marital status, income, social environment or life style of either party only if it is shown that any of these factors are causing or may cause emotional or physical damage to the child.

No preference in custody shall be given to either parent on the basis of that parent’s sex.

Oregon laws do not allow the court to hear evidence of specific acts of misconduct, unless the misconduct is relevant to determining child custody.

-From 107.036 & 107.137 of the Oregon Statutes.

Parenting Plans.

The parties should file a parenting plan to be included in the judgment. A parenting plan may be either general or detailed.

A general parenting plan must set forth the minimum amount of parenting time and access a noncustodial parent is entitled to have, and how parental responsibilities will be shared. The parents may develop a more detailed agreement on an informal basis.

If the parents wish to file a more detailed parenting plan with the court, this plan may include, but need not be limited to, provisions relating to:

  1. Residential schedule;
  2. Holiday, birthday and vacation planning;
  3. Weekends, including holidays, and school in-service days preceding or following weekends;
  4. Decision-making and responsibility;
  5. Information sharing and access;
  6. Relocation of parents;
  7. Telephone access;
  8. Transportation; and
  9. Methods for resolving disputes.

-From 107.102 of the Oregon Statutes.

Parental Rights.

Unless otherwise ordered by the court, when one parent has sole custody, the other parent will still have the following rights, to the same extent as the custodial parent has the following rights:

  1. To inspect and receive school records and to consult with school staff concerning the child’s welfare and education;
  2. To inspect and receive governmental agency and law enforcement records concerning the child;
  3. To consult with any person who may provide care or treatment for the child and to inspect and receive the child’s medical, dental and psychological records;
  4. To authorize emergency medical, dental, psychological, psychiatric or other health care for the child if the custodial parent is, for practical purposes, unavailable; or
  5. To apply to be the child’s conservator, guardian ad litem or both.

-From 107.154 of the Oregon Statutes.

Moving with the Child & Notice of Changes.

Neither parent may move to a residence more than 60 miles from the other parent without giving the other parent reasonable notice of the move, and providing a copy of such notice to the court.

Unless otherwise ordered by the court, both parents shall have a continuing responsibility to provide addresses and contact telephone numbers to the other parent and to immediately notify the other parent of any emergency circumstances or substantial changes in the health of the child.

-From 107.159 & 107.164 of the Oregon Statutes.


This information has been summarized from the Oregon statutes. You can find the full-text version of these and other Oregon divorce statutes online here: Oregon Divorce Laws.




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