Oregon courts generally want for parents to resolve matters related to child custody by attending a formal mediation session. If a couple getting divorced cannot agree on who will have primary custody, the issue may require a determination from a judge.
Parents who are no longer living together should familiarize themselves with how courts determine who should have custody. Understanding courts’ priorities and analyses will help parents identify the legal strengths and weaknesses of their position.
Courts do not always side with mothers
Some people tend to think that courts prefer to award custody to mothers. In Oregon, however, neither parent has a preference working in their favor. Courts objectively evaluate each parent’s ability to care for their children.
Courts may consider children’s wishes
Children do not have the ability to decide which parent to live with, nor can they outright refuse visitation. However, a court may be willing to consider children’s input about which parent they want to spend most of their time with.
Courts aim to promote children’s best interests
The primary objective of courts in settling custody disputes is to reach an outcome that will be best for children. Some key elements that could shape a court’s analysis include a child’s individual needs, whether a custody arrangement after a divorce will cause significant disruption from children’s current living situation, and each parent’s fitness to provide care.
A custody order can affect each parent’s rights for many years. In addition to learning about what information courts will consider relevant, parents should carefully consider what substantive evidence can help them prevail in a custody dispute.