Oregon Parenting Plans and Custody Agreements
This article covers custody agreements in Oregon and gives guidelines on creating an effective parenting plan for Oregon courts.
You can write up your own parenting plan (on your own or with the other parent) or you can work with an attorney or legal professional and have them create it. If you don't want to pay the high cost of an attorney, and want to easily make your own agreement, you can use the Custody X Change software.
Custody X Change is software that creates professional parenting plan documents and parenting schedules.
When creating a parenting plan in the State of Oregon, it is important to become familiar with the laws pertaining to child custody and visitation in the state.
Chapter 107 of the Oregon Revised Statutes contains the laws that will enable you to create a parenting plan that complies with the laws and the requirements of the court.
The law clearly defines the State's position on parenting policies, entails what a parenting plan should and may include, explains the different types of parenting plans, and offers definitions for many of the terms used in the court and court documents.
Utilizing some of the key points of the Statutes will help you create a parenting plan that will serve the needs of you and your child while also meeting the requirements of the law.
The State of Oregon encourages parents to work together when developing a parenting plan, but if parents are unable to reach an agreement and create a parenting plan, or they do not wish to create a parenting plan, the court will create one for them (ORS 107.102.4).
Whenever a family law case involving parenting time is brought before a court in the State of Oregon, it is mandatory that a correlating parenting plan be submitted and filed with the court (ORS 107.102.1), so regardless of who makes the parenting plan, your case cannot be concluded without one.
You know your child best, and as parents, you are naturally better suited to create the plan that will dictate the circumstances of your parenting arrangements than the court. The judge has little knowledge of your child and his or her unique needs.
If the court creates the parenting plan, the court will only consider the child's best interests when developing and approving it.
A general parenting plan outlines parental responsibilities and allows you the freedom to develop a more detailed agreement on an informal basis.
A general parenting plan should outline the minimum amount of time the non-primary custodial parent shall have with the child, and then you will then be free to share additional time with your child as you see fit.
A general parenting plan works well in situations where you are able to work together and parent your child without conflict.
A detailed parenting plan is a much more formal agreement and contains very specific details for raising your child.
Divorce or separation can be a stressful, sometimes even hostile time for all parties involved. If you are unable to agree or find yourself in a combative situation with the other parent, it is a good idea to have a more detailed parenting plan, in order to maintain a positive environment for the child.
A detailed parenting plan may include the following provisions (ORS 107.102.3):
- A residential schedule, specifying the days and times the child will spend time with each parent
- A schedule or specifications for birthdays, holidays, and vacations
- Provisions for longer weekends, such as weekends extended by school closures for teacher work days or holidays
- A statement defining parental decision making authority and responsibilities
- Provisions for the access to and sharing of information regarding the child
- Stipulations regarding parental relocation
- Provisions for telephone access and other forms of communication between each parent and the child
- Provisions regarding the transportation of the child between exchanges
- A method for dispute resolution should conflict arise in the future
- Any other provisions you would like to include
If you have safety concerns, the State of Oregon has specialized parenting plans for situations where a parent may be a danger or a potential danger to the child.
Substance or alcohol abuse, a history of violence, neglect, or sexual abuse, (either to the other parent, the other child, or another person), and several other negative circumstances are all concerns that should be addressed, as they affect the best interests of the child.
A safety focused parenting plan could mandate that the offensive parent have only supervised visitation, or limited visitation with no overnights.
Overnight visitation may be considered, in a manner designed to protect the other parent from harm, if the child is not considered to be at risk.
Safety focused parenting plans should be extremely detailed so that there is no room for interpretation and conflict is avoided as much as possible.
The ORS contains additional information about joint custody arrangements (ORS 107.169).
Here are some things to know for joint custody:
- Joint custody is an arrangement where the parents share rights and responsibilities for major decisions concerning the child including, but not limited to, decisions about the child's residence, education, health care, and religious training.
- A joint custody plan can specify one home as the primary residence of the child and designate one parent to have sole power to make decisions about specific matters while both parents retain equal rights and authority for other decisions.
- Both parents must agree to the terms and conditions of joint custody in order for the court to award it.
- When both parents have agreed to a joint custody plan, the court may not overrule that agreement by ordering sole custody.
You will need to consider carefully what type of custody arrangements would be best for your child and make your parenting plan accordingly.
If you put your child first and follow the other guidelines from the law, you will be able to create an agreement that the state of Oregon will approve and endorse. This can help your custody situation get started on the right foot.
The top fifteen cities in Oregon (by population, US Census Bureau, 2008) are: Portland, Salem, Eugene, Gresham, Hillsboro, Beaverton, Bend, Medford, Springfield, Corvallis, Tigard, Albany, Aloha, Lake Oswego, Keizer.