What will happen to me when my parents get divorced?
The divorce will include a decision about custody and parenting time. In many situations, parents are able to agree about how they will share time and decisions about you after they separate or get divorced. When parents don’t agree, the court offers help to decide who will have custody, where you will live, and how often you will see each parent.
How will a judge decide which parent will get custody?
In Oregon, a judge’s main concern in deciding custody is the best interest of the child. A judge will consider your safety, welfare, and overall quality of life. If there are major changes in your life down the road, it is possible for custody and parenting time to change.
Can I testify in court?
It is important to think carefully about the decision to testify in court. In most cases, the court will not want to put you in the position of having to testify. You may want to talk to a counselor or lawyer about how it will make you feel and what your rights may be before you make a decision.
At what age can I choose which parent I want to live with?
Oregon does not specify an age when a child can decide which parent he or she wants to live with. In court, a judge will weigh the age and maturity of the child. A judge may not base a decision on a child’s wishes if the judge thinks it is not in the child’s best interest.
I’m about to turn 18 years old. Will my mom or dad still pay child support?
Oregon law allows for child support to be paid to a child who is 18, 19, or 20 years of age, if the child is not married or emancipated and is going to school at least half-time and making satisfactory academic progress as defined by the school. No matter whether a child this age is in school, the parents have to notify the child of any proceeding that involves support. See 107.108 for more information.
My mom and dad were never married. Who has custody?
If paternity (fatherhood) has been established, unmarried parents have the same rights and responsibilities regarding custody as married parents. Both parents have equal rights to have custody of a child unless a court order changes this. Either parent can file a case to establish legal custody through the court.
What is a custody evaluator?
A custody evaluator is a mental health provider, such as a therapist or psychologist, who has extra training about custody evaluation. A custody evaluator can be court-appointed. A custody evaluator observes a family and makes an objective recommendation to the court about custody and parenting time. The goal of the recommendation is to help the parents or the court make a decision that is in the best interest of the child.
Can I get legal help?
There are some resources available for children to find legal help. The Oregon State Bar offers a program called "Problem Solvers" that helps children between the ages of 13 and 17. Oregon has laws about providing legal assistance to children in family law cases. 107.425(6)
What does emancipation mean?
Emancipation is a process handled in juvenile court in which a child 16 or 17 years of age can get many of the rights and reponsibilities of an adult. This can include the ability to work for adult wages and establish a residence. It also means that the child's parents no longer have any legal responsibility for the child and would not be required to feed, shelter, or provide financial help to the child.
More Information for Children