Oregon Custody and Visitation Schedules
You can create your own custody and visitation schedule (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 schedule, you can use the Custody X Change software.
Custody X Change is software that creates custody schedules, calendars, and professional parenting plan documents.
It is important to review the laws and to be familiar with them when creating a child visitation schedule in the State of Oregon so you will be better prepared to make a child custody and visitation schedule the court will approve.
The Oregon Revised Statutes, Chapter 107, contains the laws regarding child custody and visitation.
The law clearly defines some of the terminology used by the court, lists the factors the court considers when deciding on custodial matters, and outlines the different types of parenting plans and what a parenting plan should entail.
Creating a child visitation schedule that complies with and meets the requirements of the law is a proactive way to better ensure your child visitation schedule is accepted by the court.
The State of Oregon has policies in place to protect the rights of parents and their children in parenting matters. Oregon State policy ensures the following (ORS 107.101):
- Children should be granted and allowed frequent, ongoing contact with both parents, provided the parent or parents are able to act in the child's best interests.
- Even though parents have ended their own personal relationships, they are encouraged to share in the rights and responsibilities of raising their child.
- Parents are encouraged to create their own parenting arrangements and parenting plan, even if it requires the assistance of legal and mediation professionals.
- Parents (and the court) are granted the widest discretion when creating parenting plans and parenting time schedules.
- The State considers the health and safety of the involved parties, and the best interests of the child, when making child custody rulings.
The Oregon Revised Statutes clearly states that a child visitation schedule should be designed to benefit the child, not the parents (ORS 107.106).
This does not mean a child visitation schedule may not benefit the parents, as well, but that the child should be the central focus and primary beneficiary of the schedule. You should keep this in mind as you create your schedule.
The court considers the best interest of the child to be the ultimate determinant in child custody cases.
The court considers the following factors when determining the custody of a child, including, but not limited to (ORS 107.137):
- The emotional bonds and established relationships between the child and each parent, any siblings, and other family members.
- The wishes and interests of the parents and their attitude toward the child.
- Whether or not continuing an existing relationship would be beneficial or detrimental to the child.
- Whether or not any spousal abuse has occurred.
- If a primary caregiver has been deemed fit by the court, the preference of that caregiver.
- The willingness of each parent to encourage and facilitate a close, nurturing relationship between the child and the other parent, as long as no evidence indicates doing so would endanger the child. A parent's reluctance to foster a relationship between the child and an abusive parent is considered protective and would not be counted against that parent.
- It is assumed that it is not in the child's best interest to be subjected to visitation with an abusive parent.
- Preference is not granted to one parent over another based on gender. Mothers and fathers in the State of Oregon are considered to be equally entitled to parental rights.
The custody and visitation schedule is actually part of a larger document called a parenting plan.
The parenting plan details how you will share custody and parenting responsibilities of your child with the other parent after you separate or divorce.
Every child custody case involving parenting time in the State of Oregon requires a parenting plan be submitted to the court.
A child visitation schedule in the State of Oregon should include (ORS 107.102.3):
- A regular, residential schedule that defines when the child will spend time in the care of each parent. One parent may be designated as a primary custodian, or parents may share custody of their child, jointly.
- A schedule for holidays and special occasions, such as birthdays.
- Provisions for three-day weekends and other extended weekends due to holidays and school breaks.
- A vacation schedule or provisions allowing the child to spend extended time with each parent for vacations.
- Telephone and electronic visitation access and visitation.
- Transportation information for exchanges for parenting time.
Creating a visitation schedule is not as simple as checking off days on a calendar. You should address your child's age and needs. For example, the needs of an infant are quite different than the needs of a high school student.
Your child visitation schedule can be created in a manner that allows it to evolve as your child does, or you may wish to create separate schedules to accommodate your child as he or she grows. Different schedules can be drafted in advance.
Age brackets may be included to designate different schedules for your child when he or she is an infant, a toddler, a preschooler, in elementary school, a pre-teen, and a high school student.
If you find it difficult to predict the evolving needs of your child, you may include stipulations for a periodic review of the parenting time schedule to make sure the needs of your child are always being met.
Child visitation schedules can be very general or they may be very specific.
A general schedule would provide the non-custodial parent with a minimum amount of visitation time (ORS 107.102). This could then be expanded upon with an informal agreement between the parents that would allow additional visitation.
If you create a more detailed schedule, it should specify the exact days and times your child will spend with each parent. This type of schedule is easier for the court to enforce.
Regardless of the type of child visitation schedule, your child should be ensured the ultimate amount of quality time with each parent, in accordance with the policy of the State of Oregon.
This is the best manner in which to better your chances of a successful outcome in your case.
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.