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Establishing Custody, Support, and Parenting Time (for unmarried parents)


General Information

The laws about parenting time and custody apply to both married and unmarried parents. Unmarried parents can ask the court for legal custody, parenting time or child support.  Paternity must be established before you can file. Paternity can be established if a father signs and files a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (a statement that says he is the father) with the State Registrar of Vital Statistics. The Oregon Child Support Program ((800) 850-0228) can help with establishing paternity. See Establishing Paternity for more information.


Parenting Education Class

You must attend Focus on Children, a parent education class, if you are the parent of a child under 18, and you are a party in a Lane County dissolution (divorce), Legal separation, or legal action to establish custody or parenting time. The class fee is $60 dollars - you may request from Focus on Children that the fee be reduced or waived.  You can pick up a registration form for the class from the court clerk at the courthouse or contact Focus on Children at 541-682-3962 for more information.


Parenting Time (Visitation)

Parenting Time (Visitation) is when one parent has sole custody and the other parent is allowed parenting time with the child. All parenting plans must set forth a minimum amount of parenting time for the parent who does not have custody.  Parenting time can be restricted or denied by a judge if the parenting time would place the child in danger, or if the judge decides that restriction or denial is in the child's best interests. Mediation will be ordered by a judge if the parents can't agree on custody and parenting time. If parents cannot come to an agreement in mediation on custody and parenting time, a judge will hear both sides and decide what is best for the child.


Child Support

Child Support is money regularly paid by a parent to help support a child. The court can order child support to be paid until a child is 18, and in some instances, until a child turns 21. Child support can be ordered as part of a divorce, a separation or a custody and parenting time case. The Oregon Child Support Program can help you with child support.  For more information, call (800) 850-0228, or visit the website at

Oregon has guidelines for calculation of support.  The guidelines consider many factors, including but not limited to, income of the parents, cost of childcare, and number of children.  If you have an attorney, your attorney can help you calculate the child support. For worksheets and instructions contact the Family Court Assistance Office or visit the Oregon Child Support Program website.