For divorcing or unmarried parents, there is nothing more important than protecting and maintaining ongoing relationships with their children. If parents cannot agree to share joint custody of children, a decision must be made according to what the judge perceives to be the “best interests of the child,” and this decision is rarely an easy one. A decision by a judge in a child custody or child relocation case is similar to the decision made by a voter in a presidential election: usually there are “pros” and “cons” for each candidate or parent, and the judge, as the voter, must inherently select an imperfect person.
Similarly, more than one criterion can be applied in a child custody or child relocation case. In the same way that a voter may say, “I like this candidate’s position on defense but I disagree with the position on taxes,” a judge could say, “the mother has more nurturing skills but she has a personality disorder, and the father has great patience but he works in a demanding profession.” When making a child custody or child relocation decision, the divorce court is required to consider all relevant factors and it may not consider any one factor to the exclusion of the others. In certain situations, an objective professional may be hired to meet with the parties to submit an expert custody evaluation to the court. Although a custody evaluation will not be binding on the court, judges do take expert recommendations extremely seriously and often give them great deference. In the final analysis, a judge must use the custody evaluation along with the statutory criteria in each particular case. Reasonable and intelligent people can disagree about these issues.
Having an experienced child custody lawyer is essential to identify, analyze and present the critical issues in a custody case in the right manner. Portland custody lawyer Ronald Allen Johnston is considered a leading attorney of child custody rights in Oregon, and he offers a special brand of custody litigation. He maintains a network of expert evaluators and frequently meets with other attorneys to discuss and share experiences regarding child custody cases. He has also served on various task forces of the bar association to debate and draft our Oregon custody laws. Clients and other attorneys in custody cases often consult him for confidential second opinions and evaluations of their ongoing cases.
Ronald Johnston represents both mothers and fathers in family law cases, and Ronald Johnston is also known as a fathers’ rights advocate. He believes that mothers and fathers in both mainstream and alternative lifestyles should have equal opportunities for child custody and parenting time. When hiring a law firm to represent you in your divorce or family law matter, compare the credentials and 35 years of experience of our Portland divorce lawyer against other attorneys. Contact our office today to schedule a pre-divorce consultation regarding your child custody or family law case.