Life circumstances can – and often do – change unexpectedly, forcing you to rethink legally binding promises and agreements you’ve made in the past. This includes child custody agreements.
Oregon law allows any order regarding child custody and parenting time to be modified under special circumstances.
Just be prepared to prove that there was an unanticipated and considerable change in circumstances since the order was entered.
How to Start: Motion to Request Modification
You’ll need to file a motion and affidavit detailing the facts about your changed circumstances. Your ex is not required to file any response to the motion, although he or she may ask the court to dismiss it because you did not establish sufficient basis to modify the order. We highly recommend that you have a Portland child custody lawyer assist you with this process.
When Can Custody Be Modified in Oregon?
To modify your custody or parenting time order, you need to show:
- An unanticipated change in circumstances regarding the ability of your ex-spouse for care for the child or children
- That the modification requested is in the best interests of the child or children
- That the change has benefits that surpass any negative effects a custody change may have
What is most important is that your petition should demonstrate why the parent who currently has custody is no longer suited to providing for the child. You should also providence evidence of the claims. Your argument should also include reasons why a different custody arrangement will be more beneficial to the child.
Below are some circumstances that would likely support a modification:
- Neglect by the custodial parent
- Your ex’s refusal or failure to cooperate with a joint custody arrangement
- Gross moral misconduct on the part of the custodial parent
- Risk of danger to the children (excessive drinking, marriage to a violent criminal)
Modifying Custody for Parental Relocation
Parental relocation is another potential cause for a custody order modification.
Oregon law recognizes that it is in the best interests of a child to maintain his or her relationship with both parents.
A custodial parent does not have an absolute right to move more than sixty miles away from the other parent; so, if you or your ex are seeking to relocate past the sixty-mile limit, it must be demonstrated that the move is in the best interests of the child.
There are other circumstances that can result in modification of a custody order. But in general, obtaining these modifications is a complicated process, and as with all custody matters, talking to an experienced divorce attorney is strongly recommended.