Child Custody

Our Portland Custody Lawyer Fights for Parental Rights

Child making a choice
Legal custody is more than just providing a home for a child. The right of custody is the power to make major decisions on behalf of the child. These decisions include significant matters such as where to live, what school to attend, religious upbringing, medical treatments and any other major decision in the child’s life. Under Oregon custody laws, a judge must award custody based on the legal standard of “best interest of the child.” Our Portland family attorney Ronald Allen Johnston has extensive experience in seeking and defending custody for both mothers and fathers, and he is dedicated to pursuing the best legal outcome for his clients involved in contested child custody cases.

The charge for the first appointment is $160 for the first hour (new clients only) and $325 per hour after the first hour.

Factors Considered for Child Custody in Oregon

Oregon law provides criteria that a judge must consider when awarding custody, including:

  • The emotional ties between the child and other family members;
  • The interest of the parties in and attitude toward the child;
  • The desirability of continuing an existing relationship;
  • The abuse of one parent by the other;
  • The preference for a primary care giver of the child, if the caretaker is deemed fit by the court, and
  • Each parent’s willingness to facilitate a close relationship between the child and the other parent.

The statute specifically prohibits a custody decision based by “isolating any one of the relevant factors…to the exclusion of other factors.”

Child Custody Awards Look to the Past to Determine the Future

Of these criteria, the factor that decides most cases is which parent has been the primary caretaker and parent of the child. This factor is inherently retrospective in nature, meaning that it looks backward into history. Accordingly, many custody cases are won or lost before the client ever sees an attorney, based on decisions and mistakes the parents made in the past. Furthermore, the legal standard of “best interest of the child” is inherently subject to judicial discretion, argument and persuasion. Skilled advocacy and litigation experience matters a great deal in child custody cases.

In Oregon, parents have joint custody only if they both agree. In the cases where one party does not agree to joint custody, an experienced custody lawyer can sort out issues, organize and present arguments to the court to make the best possible presentation of the case. In family law matters, how one defines the issues often dictates what the result of the case will be.

As a Portland custody attorney, Ronald Allen Johnston has seen judicial standards, appellate case decisions, social attitudes, psychological testing and psychological literature evolve over his 40 years of practice. He is able to identify a “line of attack” in a custody case that other counsel may not see. Before you make a final decision on the custody of your child, contact our firm for a confidential evaluation of your particular case.

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