Grandparents’ Rights in Oregon
For some children, their grandparents play a much larger role in their lives than their biological parents. If the children’s parents refuse to allow the grandparents adequate time to visit and spend time with them, it can cause serious strain on this important and unique familial relationship.
Although grandparents aren’t entitled to the same privileges as parents when it comes to matters like visitation and custody of their grandchildren, they can petition the court for visitation rights. They can attempt to prove they have a substantial relationship with their grandchildren and that denying visitation would harm the children in some way. However, Oregon law favors a parent's rights over a grandparent's whenever possible.
According to the U.S. Supreme Court case Troxel v. Granville, grandparent rights shouldn't interfere with the rights of “fit” or stable parents, and visitation is appropriate if it is in the child's best interests. Grandparents petitioning for visitation rights in Oregon must prove that their grandchild's emotional and physical needs are not being adequately met by the biological parents and that visitation time would allow such needs to be addressed.
Oregon courts consider the following factors to decide if grandparents should be granted visitation rights:
- Whether the grandparent is or recently has been the primary caretaker of the children
- If the children would be negatively affected if the visitation petition is denied
- Whether the legal parent has unreasonably denied or limited contact between the children and grandparents
- If allowing grandparent visitation would substantially interfere with the parent-child relationship
- Whether the child's parent has ever fostered, encouraged, or consented to the children’s relationship with their grandparents
When it comes to obtaining custody of grandchildren, courts look at the factors listed above and whether the legal parent is unwilling or unable to adequately care for the child. The weight given to each factor varies from case to case and all factors don’t necessarily have to be met. However, the evidence grandparents present to argue for custody must demonstrate that the legal parent has failed to act in the children’s best interests and that living with the grandparents would ensure their needs are cared for.
At McKinley Irvin, we understand that grandparents are a crucial part of many children's lives. Our legal team is committed to representing grandparents throughout Oregon in child custody and visitation cases. Call or schedule your consultation online to discuss your concerns with our compassionate legal professionals.