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What rights do fathers have in Oregon?

On Behalf of | Nov 30, 2022 | Family Law |

It’s frequently believed that when it comes to the matter of a child born to an unmarried couple, the mother should have the right to care for and raise their child, with majority control over how the father raises their child. There is all manner of studies and statistics and citations from experts that people toss about on the subject. However, that’s likely far from true and may hurt many fathers’ perception of their obligations and responsibilities.

Legally speaking, the mother and father have equal chances to claim primary custody of their child. But, what exactly is a father’s right to custody of their child? Here’s what you should know:

The right to legal custody

Legal custody is a parent’s decision over their child’s education, religious upbringing, dietary restrictions and other matters revolving around their upbringing. Many parents take on a joint custody agreement where both parents can determine what’s best for their children. However, in some cases, one parent may be given sole legal custody – this can be given to both the mother and the father.

The right to primary physical custody

A father has as much of a chance that the mother of their child would have to earn primary physical custody of their child. The court will likely evaluate the financial, living situation and employment of a child’s parents to determine who should hold primary custody. The following are a few additional factors that might sway the court:

  • History of domestic abuse and violence
  • Stability of the home
  • The ability to provide and care for the child
  • Sometimes, the child’s preference

A parent who is awarded primary physical custody has the obligation and responsibility to care for their children as they live with their parents. The other parent will likely be awarded secondary physical custody with any responsibilities that come with the role.

The right to alter a custody order

Custody orders are often created when a child is young. Over time, the child’s needs and wants change and so does the parents’ life – this may mean the child custody arrangement needs to be amended. While determining how to change the custody order can be difficult, neither parent is restricted from altering a custody order if they have enough reason to make the changes.

As a father, you should know you have legal rights to care for your child. If you believe your rights are being violated or restricted, you may need to know your options.