October 17, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- As in other states, spouses with minor children that divorce in Oregon will have a designated child custody
agreement. This agreement outlines everything including legal decision-making power, living arrangements, parenting time and more. When one parent wishes to relocate for any reason, there can be a need for additional legal processes and assistance to modify the original agreement.
In recent years, Oregon's divorce rate has consistently been higher than the national average, ranging from 3.8 to 4 out of every 1,000 residents experiencing a divorce. That contrasts with an average of 3.5 to 3.6 nationwide. Many of these divorces include children under the age of 18 and the prevalence of custody agreements is high.
Child custody arrangements
Oregon outlines two different types of child custody in divorces -- physical custody and legal custody. The former delineates the day-to-day living arrangements for a child while the latter identifies who will have the ability and the right to make major decisions on behalf of the child. "Joint custody" cannot be granted unless both parents agree.
Either type of custody arrangement can be awarded to only one parent or to both jointly. Many divorce agreements can also have one custody arrangement awarded to both parents and the other to only one. The individual nature of such agreements depends on many factors.
What happens if a parent wishes to move?
Oregon courts understand the importance of having both parents involved in a child's life, unless there are extenuating circumstances which deem this unsafe. To that end, the potential relocation of one parent is something that the courts take seriously.
The basic guidelines around parental relocation
(or "move away" cases) in Oregon include:
- A custodial parent may move up to 60 miles away from his or her current home without any notice required to the other parent or to the court.
- If a custodial parent wishes to move more than 60 miles away from his or her current home, the parent is required to provide notice to both the other parent and the court.
- A noncustodial parent that wishes to prevent the other parent from moving can file a motion asking the court to prevent the move.
So, for example, a custodial parent living in Beaverton wishing to move to Wilsonville could do so at any time. If, however, that same parent wished to move from Beaverton to Eugene, he or she would need to give notice to the court and the other parent then the other parent could object.
How do courts decide?
Judges are required to make decisions about parental relocations based upon what they believe to be in the best interest of the child or children involved. They must consider the reason for the move, the affect it would have on the child's relationship with the parent that was left behind and any potential special benefits that the child may gain from the move. For example, if a parent wished to move simply because they liked a different climate better, that is not likely to be a reason sufficient for a judge to approve the change. If, however, a parent wished to move to an area that provided special medical care that the child needed, that could be a reason that a judge may approve a change.
Whether you are a parent who wishes to move away or a parent wishing to prevent such a move, working with a family law attorney is important in such situations. Many things can affect the ultimate decision and your child's life can be dramatically changed by the outcome.
Article provided by DeBast, McFarland & Richardson, LLP
Visit us at www.dmr-law.com