A: Oregon custody laws encourage parents to share in the rights and responsibilities of raising their children so long as it is in the best interests of the children. There is a distinct difference between a custody determination and parenting time. Custody decisions are about who will have decision-making authority for a minor child or children. Parenting time is the schedule that determines when the child will be in the care of each parent.
The court’s primary consideration in awarding custody and parenting time is “the best interests and welfare of the child.” In making a decision on custody and parenting time, the court will consider all of the following factors:
The emotional ties between the child and other family members;
The interest of the parents in and attitude toward the child;
The desirability of continuing an existing relationship;
The abuse of one parent by the other;
The preference for the primary caregiver of the child, if the caregiver is deemed fit by the court. (Primary caregiver is the parent who attends to the child’s basic needs on a daily basis, and who is more closely bonded to the child);
The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child.
You should contact an attorney to determine how these factors apply to your case.
A: The deceased wife's estate will have to go through probate. Probate is the legal process whereby a court oversees the distribution of assets left by a deceased person. The house is considered an asset of the surviving spouse if they held title as husband and wife. When the husband died, the wife became the sole owner.
If the deceased wife had a will, the will is “proved” and delivered to the probate court. A personal representative is selected. A personal representative is someone who handles the deceased person’s affairs. A will generally names a personal representative who, if willing to serve and otherwise qualified, will be approved by the court. If a person dies without a will, the court will select the personal representative, usually an adult child or another close relative. After court approval and notices to all interested parties and payment of all unpaid probate expenses, the deceased person’s assets are distributed to the people named in the will or, if the person died without a will, to the heirs of the deceased person.
You should contact an attorney in Oregon to begin the probate process to transfer ownership of the home. Without a probate court order, the deed (title) to the home legally cannot be transferred to anyone.
A: Oregon and most other states follow the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act. This law generally requires that custody disputes be resolved in the home state of the child. The home state of the child means the state in which the child resided for at least the six months immediately preceding the filing of any custody lawsuit.
If there is no custody order for the children, then either parent can take the children out of state. Note however, that if the children have resided in OR for six consecutive months or longer at the time of their departure from OR, OR is considered the home state of the child and OR courts have exclusive jurisdiction to determine custody of the children. That means you may have to return the children to OR if an OR court orders that based upon the request of the other parent, and no other state can make a custody determination. There are some exceptions, so you should consult with an attorney before you move to find out your best options.