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Oregon Grandparent & Psychological Parent
Oregon Grandparent & Psychological Parent Rights

Oregon law protects the rights of grandparents and others who have formed a relationship with a minor child. Grandparents may petition the court for visitation rights when their contact with a minor child is being unreasonably denied. If the court finds that visitation has been interfered with and contact is in the child's best interest, it may order reasonable visitation. What is reasonable will depend upon the circumstances of each case.

Relatives and non-relatives who have maintained an ongoing personal relationship with a minor child may petition the court for visitation and contact rights. You must show a substantial degree of contact with the child for a period of at least one year. You do not have to show that you have had physical custody, only a relationship with substantial contact. If the court finds from clear and convincing evidence that visitation is in the child's best interest, it may order visitation. "Clear and convincing evidence" is a higher legal standard than is required in other cases.

A petition for grandparent visitation rights or other visitation rights may be filed in a new legal proceeding or through intervention in an ongoing juvenile court, guardianship, or domestic relations proceeding.

Custody may also be sought in special circumstances, where you can show a child/parent relationship. To seek custody, you must show physical custody of a minor child within the six months before a case is filed. It is important but not sufficient to show that you provided food, clothing, and shelter to the child. If you are seeking custody as a psychological parent, you must also show that they have assumed parenting responsibilities, at least temporarily.

Generally, in custody contests between a natural parent and a psychological parent, the court will award custody to the natural parent, absent some compelling threat to the child's present or future well-being. The "best interests" standard does not apply in these situations.

Oregon law also allows placement of children who are neglected, abused, or who have special needs with relatives and non-relatives in guardianship and juvenile court proceedings.

Establishing visitation or custody rights for a grandparent, relative, stepparent, or other person can be emotionally difficult and legally challenging. Whenever possible, professional legal advice should be obtained.

Stepparent Rights

Oregon law protects the rights of a stepparent who has formed a relationship with a minor child. During a marriage, both the stepparent and the non-custodial birth parent have a financial obligation for a minor child. However, a stepparent's financial obligation ends when a divorce judgment is entered.

During a divorce or separation proceeding, a stepparent who has maintained an ongoing personal relationship with a minor child may petition the court for visitation and contact rights. You must show a substantial degree of contact with the child for a period of at least one year. You do not have to show that you had physical custody, only a relationship with substantial contact. If the court finds from clear and convincing evidence that visitation is in the child's best interest, it may order visitation. "Clear and convincing evidence" is a higher legal standard than is required in other cases.

A petition for stepparent visitation rights may also be filed in a new legal proceeding or through intervention in an ongoing juvenile court, guardianship, or family law proceeding.

Custody may also be sought in special circumstances, where a stepparent can show a child/parent relationship. To seek custody, you must show physical custody of a minor child within the six months before filing an action. It is important but not enough to show that you provided food, clothing, and shelter to the child. You must also show that you have assumed parenting responsibilities, at least temporarily.

Generally, in custody contests between a birth parent and a stepparent, the court will award custody to the birth parent, absent some compelling threat to the child's present or future well-being. The "child's best interests" standard does not apply in these situations. In some cases, if the birth parent abandons a child for a substantial period of time, it may be sufficient to warrant custody to a stepparent. Stepparents may also seek to adopt a minor child.

Establishing stepparent rights can be emotionally difficult and legally challenging. Whenever possible, professional legal advice should be obtained.


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