Southard v. Larkins

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Family Law
  • Date Filed: 12-02-2015
  • Case #: A155057
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: DeVore, P.J. for the Court; Garrett, J.; & Schuman, S.J.
  • Full Text Opinion

A court will not invalidate a marriage unless timely evidence proves that the marriage was invalid. A trial court has jurisdiction and authority to exercise its discretion in awarding custody of children in a marriage dissolution.

The Court granted Larkins’ (Mother) request for consolidated review of the trial court’s decision dissolving Mother’s marriage to Southard and granting him custody of A.R. and two other children. Mother was originally married to Southard, and had two children, H and S—this marriage was annulled in 2006, and Mother was awarded custody of the children. Subsequently, Mother married Larkins in 2007, and became pregnant. In 2008, during the pendency of the pregnancy, the marriage to Larkins was dissolved. Upon the birth of AR, Southard was present, and he unknowingly indicated on the birth certificate that he was the father of AR. Later in 2008, Mother remarried Larkins. In 2009, Mother remarried Southard, and Mother explained that she did not believe her second marriage to Larkins was an “official marriage”. Southard filed for dissolution, and the trial court found that, though he was not the biological father of AR, he was the legal father. Mother challenged the validity of her marriage to Southard, and the trial court’s grant of custody to him. The Court held that the trial court did not err in dissolving Mother’s marriage to Southard because Mother provided no evidence that the marriage was invalid. Further, the Court held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in determining the custody of A.R. and the two other children. Affirmed.

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