Murray and Murray

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Family Law
  • Date Filed: 09-20-2017
  • Case #: A158013
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Tookey, J. for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; & Shorr, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under ORS 107.137(2), identifying one parent as the primary caregiver is not outcome-determinative in child custody cases and must be weighed with all relevant statutory factors to determine what custody arrangement represents the child’s best interests. Courts may consider parent work schedules, distance between parents’ homes, and the logistics of proposed parenting plans in fostering strong contacts with both parents. Miller and Miller, 269 Or App 436, 437, 345 P3d 472 (2015).

Mother appealed a supplemental judgment awarding legal custody of Child to Father. Mother assigned error to the trial court’s application of ORS 107.137’s factors governing child custody awards. On appeal, Mother argued that the trial court erred in awarding custody to Father because Mother was the primary caregiver, and the court’s consideration of parents’ work schedules and proposed parenting plans in its custody determination was impermissible. In response, Father argued that the trial court properly considered all factors. Identifying one parent as the primary caregiver is not outcome-determinative in child custody cases and must be weighed with all relevant statutory factors to determine what custody arrangement represents the child’s best interests. ORS 107.137. Courts may consider parent work schedules, distance between parents’ homes, and the logistics of proposed parenting plans in fostering strong contacts with both parents. Miller and Miller, 269 Or App 436, 437, 345 P3d 472 (2015). The Court of Appeals held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in awarding custody to Father because it appropriately weighed factors such as the “emotional ties” between Child and her half-sibling, Father’s encouragement of Child’s close relationship with Mother was in the best interests of Child, and Mother’s proposed parenting plan would “effectively cut Father out of Child’s life.” Affirmed.

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