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Oregon Court of Appeals


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Sconce and Sweet

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 03-28-2012
Case #: A147616
Hadlock, J. for the Court; Haselton, P.J.; and Armstrong, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/Publications/A147616.pdf

Family Law: For a custody-modification, the party seeking the change in custody must prove that a substantial change in circumstances occurred since the last order relating to custody.

Mother appealed a supplemental judgment modifying custody of the parties' minor child. Father had previously petitioned for the minor child three separate times. After Father filed the current issue on appeal, the trial court found that there was a substantial change in circumstances and awarded Father custody. Mother appealed, arguing that the lower court applied an erroneous legal standard to the first prong of the two-part test for custody-modifications. The standard for custody-modification requires that a parent seeking a custody change must: 1) show that circumstances related to the child have changed since the last order affecting custody; and 2) it is in the child’s best interests. The Court reversed holding the trial court erroneously determined "the last custody order" was the November 2001 order granting father temporary parenting time. The correct custody order was the April 2004 order. Accordingly, Father failed to prove there was a substantial change in circumstances following the April 2004 order. Reversed.