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Child Custody for Unmarried Parents in Oregon

Unmarried Couples & Child Custody Arrangements

Custodial issues between parents can often spark a number of challenges. For unmarried couples, the issues involved can seem even more complicated. It is important for mothers and fathers to know that, whether you are the noncustodial or custodial parent, you have rights. The best way to learn about your rights is to speak with an experienced attorney at our firm.

At Pacific Cascade Legal, our lawyers can help you with the dissolution of an unwed relationship, and we’re well-acquainted with the processes required to determine child custody in these cases. From helping you understand your rights as unmarried parents to negotiating for a more positive custody and visitation schedule, we’ll be by your side every step of the way.

Do you have questions about how your unmarried status will impact child custody? Call (503) 573-5566.

What Are My Custodial Rights?

Unwed parents should know the following about their child custody rights in Oregon:

  • Unwed parents have the same custody rights as married parents.
  • The courts will look to the same statutory factors for child custody as they would with married couples.
  • If a dispute arises, matters will be handled in the courts, where an enforceable order can be made.

Our attorneys can provide straightforward advice about your custody case. We will take the time to explain what factors the courts will look at when determining custody and inform you of all your options. When you work with our team, your questions won't be left lingering. You can have the benefit of knowing that your attorney is caring, approachable, and friendly.

Establishing Paternity for Unmarried Couples

Although unwed parents can face more legal difficulties when dissolving their relationship, the child custody laws in Oregon do apply to both unmarried and married couples equally. This is because the child still has the right to shared parenting, regardless of the parents’ marital status. This means that, before you can receive a custody ruling, you will need to establish paternity.

Because unmarried mothers already have clear medical evidence of the birthing process, there’s no need for the court to establish an unmarried mother’s right to visit, house, and care for her child. However, paternity can be more uncertain, which is why the court must legally establish the father’s rights in the case of unmarried parents.

Here are the two major ways you can establish paternity for child custody:

  1. Both parents must agree to sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form. This is typically done at the hospital right after birth, but it can also happen at any point after birth.
  2. If you can’t sign a paternity form, you will need to establish paternity by means of DNA testing. Mothers can also fill out an Affidavit in Support of Establishing Paternity, regardless of whether the father voluntarily agrees.

Once paternity has been established, the child custody proceedings will closely resemble those for married parents. It can take a while for a couple, unmarried or otherwise, to arrive at an equitable arrangement for visitation and custody rights — and even then, it may not be possible to reach an amicable decision on your own. If a judge determines the final outcome, they will consider the best interests of the child, along with many other factors.

How We Can Help with Your Custody Case in Oregon

While it can be daunting to face complex negotiations, paternity testing, and court hearings, you don’t have to do this alone. Our team at Pacific Cascade Legal is committed to you and your family, and we’ll do everything in our power to bring about a positive, win-win solution. Give us a call today to learn more about your parental rights in Oregon.

Contact Pacific Cascade Legal in Oregon at (503) 573-5566 to schedule a consultation.

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