In Oregon, child custody is defined as either sole custody or joint custody. The policy of Oregon’s courts is to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities of raising their children after a divorce, and see that there is frequent and continuing contact with both parents. The goal for any family court is always to determine what is in the best interests of the child. In Oregon, legal custody means having the ability to make decisions about school, health and religious issues. Legal joint custody means that both parents share equally in decisions about the care of the child or children. Legal joint custody does not mean that a child lives with each parent exactly 50% of the time. A child may live with only one parent most of the time, or even all of the time, and both parents can retain joint legal custody. Sole legal custody refers to only one parent having the right to make school, health and religious decisions for a child. The non-custodial parent may still have visitation privileges, and may or may not have some input about the child’s care, but the non-custodial parent will not retain the right to make the final determination.
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