Custody & Parenting Time

Custody: In Oregon “custody” means the right to make major decisions for the parties’ child, not the time spent with the child, which is called parenting time.

Sole Custody: An order of sole custody means the parent who is awarded sole custody has the right to make major decisions for the child (i.e. residence, religion, health care, education).

Joint Custody: An order of joint custody means that both parents need to mutually agree upon major decisions for the child (i.e. residence, religion, health care, education). In the joint custody designation, the parties can agree to alter the decision-making authority of each party, if mutually agreed upon.

Sole and Joint Custody: Regardless of the custody designation, each parent has the right to:

(1) inspect and receive school records and to consult with school staff concerning the child’s welfare and education;

(2) inspect and receive governmental agency and law enforcement records concerning the child;

(3) 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) authorize emergency medical, dental, psychological, psychiatric or other health care for the child if the primary parent is, for practical purposes, unavailable; and

(5) be the child’s conservator, guardian ad litem, or both.

Parenting Time

In Oregon, “parenting time” means the time each parent may spend with the parties’ child.

Although children are resilient, they appreciate predictable schedules along with frequent and consistent contact with each parent. Consistency and predictability are important factors to children. Parents need to focus on what is best for their child, and not what is best for the parents.

I recommend the Oregon Judicial Department’s Basic Parenting Plan Guide for Parents. Click here to access the guide. The Basic Parenting Plan Guide provides age-specific parenting plans, age-specific needs, and age-specific signs of distress. Many clients have found the Basic Parenting Plan Guide to be extremely helpful in preparing themselves for mediation.

Focus on Children: All parents who have a child 17-years-old or younger are required to take a parenting class called Focus on Children. Click here for a registration form.

Suggestions for a Successful Custody and Parenting Time Mediation: Parties who have discussed their thoughts with each other prior to the mediation regarding custody and parenting time are generally more successful in reaching resolution. Additionally, parents who have fully processed their thoughts about both the standard parenting time schedule and the vacation/holiday parenting time schedule generally save time and money.