Oregon Family Law

Guide to Oregon Family Law

If you are involved in a divorce case or any case involving custody or legal guardianship of a minor, OR family law and family courts will determine the outcome of your case.  Understanding Oregon family law and the way the family courts operate can ensure that you have a grasp of all of your legal options.  This guide will provide a very basic overview of OR family law.  For more detailed information about any aspect of Oregon family law, you may want to look at other articles on this website or consult with an attorney.


If you are considering adopting a child, OR family law requires that you go through the family court system to have your adoption approved and finalized.  Oregon family law allows families to adopt children both domestically and internationally through adoption agencies, and also to adopt through the state's foster care system.  The adoption process, according to OR family law, requires a home study and fingerprinting of all prospective adoptive parents.  Most families are allowed by Oregon family law to adopt, including those with single parents, families with or without children, and both gay and straight people.

Child Custody

All child custody battles are judged according to OR family law in the family court system.  In many cases, parents are able to agree to a parenting plan, in which case Oregon family law allows a judge to simply sign off on an existing family plan.  OR family law may require parents to attend mediation if they are unable to come to an agreement on their own.  This allows the parents to avoid lengthy court trials and resolve their differences in the more informal mediation environment.

According to Oregon family law, parents may seek physical custody of their children, which means having a child physically reside with you, or legal custody, which gives you responsibility for making decisions about your child's education, healthcare, and religious upbringing.

Child Support

OR family law uses what is called the “income shares” model of child support.  Your child's basic support needs will be calculated based on total parental income (both parents' income added together).  Then, each parent will be expected to contribute an amount toward the child's care that is equal to their percentage of total income times the total support obligation.  If you need to have your child support costs modified, Oregon family law may allow this if your circumstances have changed.  Child support enforcement is taken very seriously in OR family law.  If you refuse to pay your legal obligations, you may have your tax refund confiscated, your wages garnished, or could even be put in jail for contempt of court.


According to Oregon family law, if parents are unmarried at the time a child is born, the father will have to sue for paternity in order to get parental rights.  In many cases, either a father or mother will want a court to order a paternity test.  With current DNA testing, a medical determination about genetic parenthood can be made, but in some cases OR family law will still require a father to pay child support even for a child who is not genetically his.

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