In most cases, Oregon family courts are going to want to make sure that both parents are as involved in their children’s lives as possible. Usually, this child custody arrangement reduces long-term conflict and is also healthier for the children.
However, providing parents roughly equal time and decision-making authority is not always a good option.
For example, where one parent has a history of abuse, especially abuse against the other parent or the child, it can be downright unsafe to allow the abusive parent lots of unrestricted involvement in the family.
Oregon law recognizes the importance of protecting families from abuse. If a court finds that a parent has committed abuse, the court may presume that the child’s best interests are not served by awarding that parent either sole custody or even joint custody.
The parent accused of abuse may try to persuade the judge to do otherwise.
This law applies to physical abuse and sexual abuse. However, there are other types of abusive behavior which a judge may consider, as one of many factors, when making custody determinations.
If a judge believes abuse allegations, the consequences will be serious
The upshot is that if a parent proves to the satisfaction of the court that the other parent is abusive, then the other parent will likely have very limited access to his or her children and perhaps no meaningful role in making parenting decisions.
For a victim of abuse, this outcome can greatly reduce stress and fear and also adds a layer of protection from further abuse.
On the hand, if a parent has been falsely accused or is the target of exaggerated claims, losing custody and, possibly, parenting time can be a real injustice.
When abuse allegations are in play, parents in the Salem area will want to understand their legal alternatives fully.