Child Custody Laws in Oregon

Oregon child custody laws are intended to determine what is in the best interests of the children. Your minor children will likely have frequent and continuing contact with both parents, so long as each parent will act in the best interests of the children.

Custody

In Oregon, the court will not order joint legal custody unless you and your spouse agree to jointly share that responsibility. The court will not order joint legal custody unless both parents agree to that arrangement. If the two of you don’t agree to joint legal custody, then Oregon child custody law requires that one parent have sole legal custody and that the other parent have a right to reasonable parenting time (visitation).

Parenting Plan (A.K.A. Visitation)

The General Judgment of Dissolution must contain a “Parenting Plan.” This is the portion of the General Judgment of Dissolution that outlines custod and visitation, and the court must find the parenting plan to be in the best interest of the child. A general parenting plan describes the minimum amount of parenting time and access that the non-custodial parent will have, and how you both will share parenting responsibilities. Many Oregon counties have adopted “model” parenting time guidelines, which often have schedules that apply for children of different ages. But these are guidelines, not requirements. The Oregon family law court is likely to approve any parenting plan that is agreed upon by both you and your spouse, no matter how “non-standard” it is.

Rights and Duties of a Parent

In addition to the parenting time and decision-making provisions detailed in your parenting plan, both parents always (unless ordered by the court) have certain rights in Oregon:

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

Best Intrest of the Child

Sec. 153.001. PUBLIC POLICY.

  1. (a) The public policy of this state is to:
    1. (1) assure that children will have frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interest of the child;
    2. (2) provide a safe, stable, and nonviolent environment for the child; and
    3. (3) encourage parents to share in the rights and duties of raising their child after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage.
  2. (b) A court may not render an order that conditions the right of a conservator to possession of or access to a child on the payment of child support.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 25, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 787, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Sec. 153.002. BEST INTEREST OF CHILD. The best interest of the child shall always be the primary consideration of the court in determining the issues of conservatorship and possession of and access to the child.

Courtesy of: Oregon Constitution and Statutes

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Conservatorship

Sec. 153.131. PRESUMPTION THAT PARENT TO BE APPOINTED MANAGING CONSERVATOR.

  1. (a) Subject to the prohibition in Section 153.004, unless the court finds that appointment of the parent or parents would not be in the best interest of the child because the appointment would significantly impair the child's physical health or emotional development, a parent shall be appointed sole managing conservator or both parents shall be appointed as joint managing conservators of the child.
  2. (b) It is a rebuttable presumption that the appointment of the parents of a child as joint managing conservators is in the best interest of the child. A finding of a history of family violence involving the parents of a child removes the presumption under this subsection.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 32, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1193, Sec. 20, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Courtesy of: Oregon Constitution and Statutes

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Conservatorship

Sec. 153.133. PARENTING PLAN FOR JOINT MANAGING CONSERVATORSHIP.

  1. (a) If a written agreed parenting plan is filed with the court, the court shall render an order appointing the parents as joint managing conservators only if the parenting plan:
    1. (1) designates the conservator who has the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the child and:
      1. (A) establishes, until modified by further order, the geographic area within which the conservator shall maintain the child's primary residence; or
      2. (B) specifies that the conservator may designate the child's primary residence without regard to geographic location;
    2. (2) specifies the rights and duties of each parent regarding the child's physical care, support, and education;
    3. (3) includes provisions to minimize disruption of the child's education, daily routine, and association with friends;
    4. (4) allocates between the parents, independently, jointly, or exclusively, all of the remaining rights and duties of a parent provided by Chapter 151;
    5. (5) is voluntarily and knowingly made by each parent and has not been repudiated by either parent at the time the order is rendered; and
    6. (6) is in the best interest of the child.
  2. (b) The agreed parenting plan may contain an alternative dispute resolution procedure that the parties agree to use before requesting enforcement or modification of the terms and conditions of the joint conservatorship through litigation, except in an emergency.
  3. (c) Notwithstanding Subsection (a)(1), the court shall render an order adopting the provisions of a written agreed parenting plan appointing the parents as joint managing conservators if the parenting plan:
    1. (1) meets all the requirements of Subsections (a)(2) through (6); and
    2. (2) provides that the child's primary residence shall be within a specified geographic area.

Courtesy of: Oregon Constitution and Statutes

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Rights and Duties of a Parent

Sec. 153.073. RIGHTS OF PARENT AT ALL TIMES.

  1. (a) Unless limited by court order, a parent appointed as a conservator of a child has at all times the right:
    1. (1) to receive information from any other conservator of the child concerning the health, education, and welfare of the child;
    2. (2) to confer with the other parent to the extent possible before making a decision concerning the health, education, and welfare of the child;
    3. (3) of access to medical, dental, psychological, and educational records of the child;
    4. (4) to consult with a physician, dentist, or psychologist of the child;
    5. (5) to consult with school officials concerning the child's welfare and educational status, including school activities;
    6. (6) to attend school activities;
    7. (7) to be designated on the child's records as a person to be notified in case of an emergency;
    8. (8) to consent to medical, dental, and surgical treatment during an emergency involving an immediate danger to the health and safety of the child; and
    9. (9) to manage the estate of the child to the extent the estate has been created by the parent or the parent's family.
  2. (b) The court shall specify in the order the rights that a parent retains at all times.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 29, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1036, Sec. 6, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Sec. 153.074. RIGHTS AND DUTIES DURING PERIOD OF POSSESSION. Unless limited by court order, a parent appointed as a conservator of a child has the following rights and duties during the period that the parent has possession of the child:

  1. (1) the duty of care, control, protection, and reasonable discipline of the child;
  2. (2) the duty to support the child, including providing the child with clothing, food, shelter, and medical and dental care not involving an invasive procedure;
  3. (3) the right to consent for the child to medical and dental care not involving an invasive procedure; and
  4. (4) the right to direct the moral and religious training of the child.

Courtesy of: Oregon Constitution and Statutes

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Rights and Duties of a Parent

Sec. 153.252. REBUTTABLE PRESUMPTION. In a suit, there is a rebuttable presumption that the standard possession order in Subchapter F:

  1. (1) provides reasonable minimum possession of a child for a parent named as a possessory conservator or joint managing conservator; and
  2. (2) is in the best interest of the child.

Courtesy of: Oregon Constitution and Statutes

SUBCHAPTER F. STANDARD POSSESSION ORDER

Sec. 153.3101. REFERENCE TO "SCHOOL" IN STANDARD POSSESSION ORDER. In a standard possession order, "school" means the primary or secondary school in which the child is enrolled or, if the child is not enrolled in a primary or secondary school, the public school district in which the child primarily resides.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1113, Sec. 4, eff. September 1, 2009.

Sec. 153.311. MUTUAL AGREEMENT OR SPECIFIED TERMS FOR POSSESSION. The court shall specify in a standard possession order that the parties may have possession of the child at times mutually agreed to in advance by the parties and, in the absence of mutual agreement, shall have possession of the child under the specified terms set out in the standard possession order.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

Amended by:

  1. Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1113, Sec. 5, eff. September 1, 2009.
  2. Sec. 153.312. PARENTS WHO RESIDE 100 MILES OR LESS APART.
  1. (a) If the possessory conservator resides 100 miles or less from the primary residence of the child, the possessory conservator shall have the right to possession of the child as follows:
    1. (1) on weekends throughout the year beginning at 6 p.m. on the first, third, and fifth Friday of each month and ending at 6 p.m. on the following Sunday; and
    2. (2) on Thursdays of each week during the regular school term beginning at 6 p.m. and ending at 8 p.m., unless the court finds that visitation under this subdivision is not in the best interest of the child.
  2. (b) The following provisions govern possession of the child for vacations and certain specific holidays and supersede conflicting weekend or Thursday periods of possession. The possessory conservator and the managing conservator shall have rights of possession of the child as follows:
    1. (1) the possessory conservator shall have possession in even-numbered years, beginning at 6 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school for the school's spring vacation and ending at 6 p.m. on the day before school resumes after that vacation, and the managing conservator shall have possession for the same period in odd-numbered years;
    2. (2) if a possessory conservator:
      1. (A) gives the managing conservator written notice by April 1 of each year specifying an extended period or periods of summer possession, the possessory conservator shall have possession of the child for 30 days beginning not earlier than the day after the child's school is dismissed for the summer vacation and ending not later than seven days before school resumes at the end of the summer vacation, to be exercised in not more than two separate periods of at least seven consecutive days each, with each period of possession beginning and ending at 6 p.m. on each applicable day; or
      2. (B) does not give the managing conservator written notice by April 1 of each year specifying an extended period or periods of summer possession, the possessory conservator shall have possession of the child for 30 consecutive days beginning at 6 p.m. on July 1 and ending at 6 p.m. on July 31;
    3. (3) if the managing conservator gives the possessory conservator written notice by April 15 of each year, the managing conservator shall have possession of the child on any one weekend beginning Friday at 6 p.m. and ending at 6 p.m. on the following Sunday during one period of possession by the possessory conservator under Subdivision (2), provided that the managing conservator picks up the child from the possessory conservator and returns the child to that same place; and
    4. (4) if the managing conservator gives the possessory conservator written notice by April 15 of each year or gives the possessory conservator 14 days' written notice on or after April 16 of each year, the managing conservator may designate one weekend beginning not earlier than the day after the child's school is dismissed for the summer vacation and ending not later than seven days before school resumes at the end of the summer vacation, during which an otherwise scheduled weekend period of possession by the possessory conservator will not take place, provided that the weekend designated does not interfere with the possessory conservator's period or periods of extended summer possession or with Father's Day if the possessory conservator is the father of the child.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 802, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 236, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1036, Sec. 13, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

  1. Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 916, Sec. 12, eff. June 18, 2005.
  2. Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1041, Sec. 2, eff. June 15, 2007.
  3. Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1113, Sec. 6, eff. September 1, 2009.

Sec. 153.313. PARENTS WHO RESIDE OVER 100 MILES APART. If the possessory conservator resides more than 100 miles from the residence of the child, the possessory conservator shall have the right to possession of the child as follows:

  1. (1) either regular weekend possession beginning on the first, third, and fifth Friday as provided under the terms applicable to parents who reside 100 miles or less apart or not more than one weekend per month of the possessory conservator's choice beginning at 6 p.m. on the day school recesses for the weekend and ending at 6 p.m. on the day before school resumes after the weekend, provided that the possessory conservator gives the managing conservator 14 days' written or telephonic notice preceding a designated weekend, and provided that the possessory conservator elects an option for this alternative period of possession by written notice given to the managing conservator within 90 days after the parties begin to reside more than 100 miles apart, as applicable;
  2. (2) each year beginning at 6 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school for the school's spring vacation and ending at 6 p.m. on the day before school resumes after that vacation;
  3. (3) if the possessory conservator:
    1. (A) gives the managing conservator written notice by April 1 of each year specifying an extended period or periods of summer possession, the possessory conservator shall have possession of the child for 42 days beginning not earlier than the day after the child's school is dismissed for the summer vacation and ending not later than seven days before school resumes at the end of the summer vacation, to be exercised in not more than two separate periods of at least seven consecutive days each, with each period of possession beginning and ending at 6 p.m. on each applicable day; or
    2. (B) does not give the managing conservator written notice by April 1 of each year specifying an extended period or periods of summer possession, the possessory conservator shall have possession of the child for 42 consecutive days beginning at 6 p.m. on June 15 and ending at 6 p.m. on July 27;
  4. (4) if the managing conservator gives the possessory conservator written notice by April 15 of each year the managing conservator shall have possession of the child on one weekend beginning Friday at 6 p.m. and ending at 6 p.m. on the following Sunday during one period of possession by the possessory conservator under Subdivision (3), provided that if a period of possession by the possessory conservator exceeds 30 days, the managing conservator may have possession of the child under the terms of this subdivision on two nonconsecutive weekends during that time period, and further provided that the managing conservator picks up the child from the possessory conservator and returns the child to that same place; and
  5. (5) if the managing conservator gives the possessory conservator written notice by April 15 of each year, the managing conservator may designate 21 days beginning not earlier than the day after the child's school is dismissed for the summer vacation and ending not later than seven days before school resumes at the end of the summer vacation, to be exercised in not more than two separate periods of at least seven consecutive days each, with each period of possession beginning and ending at 6 p.m. on each applicable day, during which the possessory conservator may not have possession of the child, provided that the period or periods so designated do not interfere with the possessory conservator's period or periods of extended summer possession or with Father's Day if the possessory conservator is the father of the child.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 36, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 236, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

  • Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1113, Sec. 7, eff. September 1, 2009.

Sec. 153.314. HOLIDAY POSSESSION UNAFFECTED BY DISTANCE PARENTS RESIDE APART. The following provisions govern possession of the child for certain specific holidays and supersede conflicting weekend or Thursday periods of possession without regard to the distance the parents reside apart. The possessory conservator and the managing conservator shall have rights of possession of the child as follows:

  1. (1) the possessory conservator shall have possession of the child in even-numbered years beginning at 6 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school for the Christmas school vacation and ending at noon on December 28, and the managing conservator shall have possession for the same period in odd-numbered years;
  2. (2) the possessory conservator shall have possession of the child in odd-numbered years beginning at noon on December 28 and ending at 6 p.m. on the day before school resumes after that vacation, and the managing conservator shall have possession for the same period in even-numbered years;
  3. (3) the possessory conservator shall have possession of the child in odd-numbered years, beginning at 6 p.m. on the day the child is dismissed from school before Thanksgiving and ending at 6 p.m. on the following Sunday, and the managing conservator shall have possession for the same period in even-numbered years;
  4. (4) the parent not otherwise entitled under this standard possession order to present possession of a child on the child's birthday shall have possession of the child beginning at 6 p.m. and ending at 8 p.m. on that day, provided that the parent picks up the child from the residence of the conservator entitled to possession and returns the child to that same place;
  5. (5) if a conservator, the father shall have possession of the child beginning at 6 p.m. on the Friday preceding Father's Day and ending on Father's Day at 6 p.m., provided that, if he is not otherwise entitled under this standard possession order to present possession of the child, he picks up the child from the residence of the conservator entitled to possession and returns the child to that same place; and
  6. (6) if a conservator, the mother shall have possession of the child beginning at 6 p.m. on the Friday preceding Mother's Day and ending on Mother's Day at 6 p.m., provided that, if she is not otherwise entitled under this standard possession order to present possession of the child, she picks up the child from the residence of the conservator entitled to possession and returns the child to that same place.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1036, Sec. 14, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

  • Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1041, Sec. 3, eff. June 15, 2007.
  • Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1113, Sec. 8, eff. September 1, 2009.

Sec. 153.315. WEEKEND POSSESSION EXTENDED BY HOLIDAY. (a) If a weekend period of possession of the possessory conservator coincides with a student holiday or teacher in-service day that falls on a Monday during the regular school term, as determined by the school in which the child is enrolled, or with a federal, state, or local holiday that falls on a Monday during the summer months in which school is not in session, the weekend possession shall end at 6 p.m. on Monday.

  1. (b) If a weekend period of possession of the possessory conservator coincides with a student holiday or teacher in-service day that falls on a Friday during the regular school term, as determined by the school in which the child is enrolled, or with a federal, state, or local holiday that falls on a Friday during the summer months in which school is not in session, the weekend possession shall begin at 6 p.m. on Thursday.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

Amended by:

  • Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1113, Sec. 9, eff. September 1, 2009.

Sec. 153.316. GENERAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS. The court shall order the following general terms and conditions of possession of a child to apply without regard to the distance between the residence of a parent and the child:

  1. (1) the managing conservator shall surrender the child to the possessory conservator at the beginning of each period of the possessory conservator's possession at the residence of the managing conservator;
  2. (2) if the possessory conservator elects to begin a period of possession at the time the child's school is regularly dismissed, the managing conservator shall surrender the child to the possessory conservator at the beginning of each period of possession at the school in which the child is enrolled;
  3. (3) the possessory conservator shall be ordered to do one of the following:
    1. (A) the possessory conservator shall surrender the child to the managing conservator at the end of each period of possession at the residence of the possessory conservator; or
    2. (B) the possessory conservator shall return the child to the residence of the managing conservator at the end of each period of possession, except that the order shall provide that the possessory conservator shall surrender the child to the managing conservator at the end of each period of possession at the residence of the possessory conservator if:
      1. (i) at the time the original order or a modification of an order establishing terms and conditions of possession or access the possessory conservator and the managing conservator lived in the same county, the possessory conservator's county of residence remains the same after the rendition of the order, and the managing conservator's county of residence changes, effective on the date of the change of residence by the managing conservator; or
      2. (ii) the possessory conservator and managing conservator lived in the same residence at any time during a six-month period preceding the date on which a suit for dissolution of the marriage was filed and the possessory conservator's county of residence remains the same and the managing conservator's county of residence changes after they no longer live in the same residence, effective on the date the order is rendered;
  4. (4) if the possessory conservator elects to end a period of possession at the time the child's school resumes, the possessory conservator shall surrender the child to the managing conservator at the end of each period of possession at the school in which the child is enrolled;
  5. (5) each conservator shall return with the child the personal effects that the child brought at the beginning of the period of possession;
  6. (6) either parent may designate a competent adult to pick up and return the child, as applicable; a parent or a designated competent adult shall be present when the child is picked up or returned;
  7. (7) a parent shall give notice to the person in possession of the child on each occasion that the parent will be unable to exercise that parent's right of possession for a specified period;
  8. (8) written notice shall be deemed to have been timely made if received or postmarked before or at the time that notice is due; and
  9. (9) if a conservator's time of possession of a child ends at the time school resumes and for any reason the child is not or will not be returned to school, the conservator in possession of the child shall immediately notify the school and the other conservator that the child will not be or has not been returned to school.

Courtesy of: Oregon Constitution and Statutes

Sec. 153.255. AGREEMENT. The court may render an order for periods of possession of a child that vary from the standard possession order based on the agreement of the parties.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995.

Sec. 153.256. FACTORS FOR COURT TO CONSIDER. In ordering the terms of possession of a child under an order other than a standard possession order, the court shall be guided by the guidelines established by the standard possession order and may consider:

  1. (1) the age, developmental status, circumstances, needs, and best interest of the child;
  2. (2) the circumstances of the managing conservator and of the parent named as a possessory conservator; and
  3. (3) any other relevant factor.

Courtesy of: Oregon Constitution and Statutes

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