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Psychological Parents’ Rights - Custody
A.Authority: ORS 109.119
A person petitioning for custody under this statute must show a "child-parent relationship." The statute defines "child-parent relationship" as follows:
a relationship that exists or did exist, in whole or in part, within the six months preceding the filing of an action under this section, and in which relationship a person having physical custody of a child or residing in the same household as the child supplied, or otherwise made available to the child, food, clothing, shelter and incidental necessaries and provided the child with necessary care, education and discipline, and which relationship continued on a day-to-day basis, through interaction, companionship, interplay and mutuality, that fulfilled the child's psychological needs for a parent as well as the child's physical needs. However, a relationship between a child and a person who is the foster parent of the child is not a child-parent relationship under this section unless the relationship continued over a period exceeding 18 months."
In other words, a person requesting custody must show that they had exclusive or shared physical custody of the child within six months before the petition. It does not include foster parents unless the relationship extended for a period of 18 months or more.
If the required relationship is shown, and if it is in the best interests of the child, the court may award custody to the person or appropriate visitation rights. Upon filing the petition, the court may also award temporary custody, pending a final hearing. No attorney fees are available under this statute.
D.Contests Between Psychological Parents and Natural Parents
Generally speaking, in contests between a natural parent and a psychological parent concerning the custody of a child, 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. So long as the child is receiving minimally adequate parenting, the natural parent will prevail as to custody.
Oregon Courts decide child custody when the parents cannot. The court considers the best interests of the child when making a ruling. Child support payments are based on an income shares model. Each parent is required to contribute financially to their child's upbringing and each person's share is calculated in proportion to their income. Each parent must provide copies of his or her W-2s to verify income. Along with the income statements, the court considers each parent's ability to borrow funds, earning capacity, and the child's needs. The court may order the parent paying child support to buy a life insurance policy and keep it in force so that the child will still be supported if the parent dies before he or she reaches the age of majority.
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"A Plain English Guide to Protecting Your Children"
Author: Mary L. Boland, Attorney at Law
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