December 29, 2010

Oregon courts do not have the authority to order “joint custody” unless agreed to by both parents (ORS 107.169). A joint custody arrangement can be positive for parents who can continue to constructively communicate and engage in joint legal decision-making for their children after the divorce is final. What happens when the parties do not agree and joint custody just isn’t feasible? One parent gets sole custody.

If you are not granted sole custody of your children, what are your rights? Oregon law says that no matter who is granted sole custody, both parents have certain rights with regard to their children. Unless the court says otherwise, both parents continue to have the authority:

(1) To inspect and receive school records and to consult with school staff concerning the child’s welfare and education;
(2) To inspect and receive governmental agency and law enforcement records concerning the child;
(3) To consult with any person who may provide care or treatment for the child and to inspect and receive the child’s medical, dental, and psychological records;
(4) To authorize emergency medical, dental, psychological, psychiatric or other health care for the child if the custodial parent is, for practical purposes, unavailable; or
(5) To apply to be the child’s conservator, guardian ad litem or both. (ORS 107.154)

The non-custodial parent has the important rights enumerated above and can take the time to stay informed as to their children’s lives. The non-custodial parent can be just as involved with their children’s education, medical treatment and general well being, even if that parent doesn’t ultimately make the major decisions. The attorneys at SKH can help you take advantage of these important rights during and after a divorce.