What’s Parenting Visitation or Time?
Many clients, when they say they want joint custody, really mean they want to have their children 50% of the time. But that’s not joint custody, that’s shared parenting visitation time. In Matter of Marriage of Ortiz, 310 Or 644 (1990), the court defined parenting time and visitation as “the legal relationship between a minor child, the legal custodian, and a non-custodial person, i.e., a person who has an interest in seeing and/or being with the child.” Lawyers often refer to “parenting-time rights” as belonging to the noncustodial parent. In fact, parenting-time rights belong to the child, with the “best interests of the child” being the guiding standard. ORS 107.102(4)(b). Therefore, parenting time means the time that the children spend with the non-custodial parent.
Parenting Visitation is not a “right” of the non-custodial parent but is a “right “of the children. Children are entitled to and deserve a relationship with both parents.
Oregon courts have developed standard plans. Each county’s circuit court has one and they are all essentially the same, with some minor variations. The standard plans set out parenting time based upon distance between parents, local (less than 60 miles distance between parent’s residences), medium distance (60 to 180 miles), and long distance (more than 180 miles). The plans are based upon the ages of the children and generally provide for parenting time every other weekend, alternating holidays and summer holidays. The standard plans also set some rules for exchanges of the children, such as being on time, having the children fed, sufficient clothing etc.
Parents are not required, however to use a standard parenting plan. They can come up with whatever arrangement works for them, depending on parent’s work schedules, the ages of the children and their school schedules. Each case is unique.
Parents can agree to a 50% split of the children, but should they. Equal parenting time sounds fair, who could object? But let’s think about it. What are the ages of the children? Developmentally small children have a need to be with one primary parent. A split parenting time schedule may be psychologically traumatizing to your children. The older the children are they better they can adapt and handle a split parenting time schedule. Where do both parents live? The children need to go to the same school regardless of which parent they’re with. How well do you get along with the other parent? Shared parenting visitation time requires cooperation. Even if the children are living with different parents week to week, they still need to get to after school sports, extra-curricular activities, sleep overs and play dates. This time of parenting time arrangement requires extreme coordination and cooperation between parents. Do you and your soon to be ex have what it takes to make the shared parenting time work?
If you live in Bend, Redmond, or any region of Central Oregon and think you need help with Parenting Visitation, or would simply like to set up an initial consultation, please contact me.