Grandparent, Step-Parent and Other Non-Parent Claims for Custody in the Portland Area and Throughout Oregon AND WASHINGTON
The United States Supreme Court has ruled that biological and adoptive parents have the Constitutional right to raise their own children as they see fit, without interference from third parties. That is a right that no one should lightly compromise. However, there are times when parents are simply not fit, are unwilling or are unable to provide the care that their children need. In such cases, third parties (for example, grandparents and step-parents) who have a child-parent relationship with the child can seek custody of the child. With the assistance of experienced attorneys such as the legal team at Jensen & Leiberan, you can know if you have a viable claim prior to pursuing custody as a non-parent. Likewise, if you are the parent of a child and a third-party is seeking custody of that child, we can assist you in protecting your rights to raise your own child.
The State Department of Human Services (DHS) has the duty to protect children if their parents are unfit. However, if you are a concerned relative or other non-parent with a child-parent relationship with that child, you and the child may be better served by filing for custody. If a non-party is awarded Custody, DHS does not need to be involved because the child is protected. The child does not need to spend any time in a foster home, and the biological parents do not have all rights terminated. The biological parents retain the right to see the child so long as that is in the child's best interests. If circumstances change and the biological parents later become fit to parent the child, they retain the right to seek a change that would return custody of the children to them.
Jensen & Leiberan has represented grandparents and other family members in their efforts to gain custody to protect children. We have also protected the custodial rights of parents, who are fit to care for their own children, against the claims of grandparents and other third parties who make unjustified claims for custody.
Working for the best interests of children, Jensen & Leiberan provides experienced family law services to the Portland metro area, and throughout Oregon and Washington. Contact us to schedule a consultation.
Grandparent, Step-Parent and Other Non-Parent Claims for Visitation with Children in the Portland Area and Throughout Oregon and Washington.
When parents separate (if unmarried), divorce, or dissolve a registered domestic partnership, one of their primary concerns must be to create a workable parenting time agreement. However, parents can and do forget that children build deep relationships with other extended family members, step-parents and other third parties. Often those relationships become more important to the child than ever before as a support system while the child tries to find his/her footing during the upheaval of separation and dissolution. If these relationships are recklessly severed by warring parents, children suffer. To continue such relationships and to protect the best interests of children, Oregon statutes allow relatives and other non-parents to file for the right to spend time with a child if they have already established an "ongoing personal relationship" with the child. If the court determines that it is in the child's best interest, non-parents who fit the statutorily defined criteria can be given the right to visit with the children even though that may be opposed by one or both parents.
Stipulated Custody or Visitation Agreements Between Parents and Non-Parents (Grandparents, Step-Parents, Aunts, Uncles and Other Third-Parties).
Parents and third-parties can enter into stipulated custody and visitation agreements. However, the court is mandated to protect the best interests of the child and has the last word in determining what custody or visitation is in the child's best interest. There is no guarantee that third-party custody or visitation agreements will be approved by the court system. With the assistance of experienced attorneys, you will have the security that any stipulations reached between parents and third-parties regarding custody and/or visitation fulfill the criteria under the law and support the best interest of the child demanded by the court.
To discuss your questions and concerns about third-party custody and/or visitation, please call us at 503-446-2521 or contact our firm by e-mail to schedule a consultation at our Portland office.