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  1. #1
    JRL
    JRL is offline Junior Member
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    Child Custody for Unmarried Parents in the State of Oregon

    Oregon

    I am seeking assistance with obtaining PROOF of legal custody in the state of Oregon as pursuant to ORS 109.175 when legal custody is determined by statute, rather than through a proceeding.

    I am the single, unmarried mother of a 7 year old girl. When her father found out I was pregnant in 1999, he left. When I delivered our child in 2000, he came to the hospital and signed a Voluntary Affidavit of Paternity. On the affidavit, it reflects that we have seperate addresses. According to ORS 109.175, if two unmarried parents are not living together at the time of the signing of the affidavit, whoever has physical possession of the child at that time (me) has sole legal custody until a court deems otherwise. The Oregon Revised Statute is copied below:

    109.175. (1) If paternity of a child born out of wedlock is
    established pursuant to a petition filed under ORS 109.125 or an
    order or judgment entered pursuant to ORS 109.124 to 109.230 or
    ORS 416.400 to 416.470, or if paternity is established by the
    filing of a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity as provided by
    ORS 109.070 { - (1)(e) - } { + (1)(d) + }, the parent with
    physical custody at the time of filing of the petition or the
    notice under ORS 416.415, or the parent with physical custody at
    the time of the filing of the voluntary acknowledgment of
    paternity, has sole legal custody until a court specifically
    orders otherwise.

    However, since I did not go through a custody proceeding, as I would have in a divorce, I do not have a custody order or any proof that I have legal custody of my daughter.

    Since that time he has been an absent father. When I attempted to get my daughter a passport this year, I encountered serious difficulty, since the requirements state that either both parents listed on the birth certificate must be present or the accompanying parents must present proof of legal custody. After much arguing, I showed them the statute and affidavit and was granted a passport for her.

    I intend to take her on a cruise this summer, the first of many travels I hope to enjoy with her, and have been told that I will need to present proof of custody to take her into foreign countries. It seems that this will be a recurring problem, so I'm looking for assistance in getting some sort of legal documentation.

    So far I have contacted:
    1. The Multnomah County Courthouse Family Law Facilitator's Office (they had no idea what I was talking about and advised me to either start a new custody proceeding- a waste of taxpayer money and my time since I already have custody- or hire a lawyer)
    2. Oregon Courts Court Programs and Services (they told me that their lawyers work for the state and can't help me- funny, I thought I paid state taxes)
    3. Gordon Smiths Office (they can only help me with federal issues)
    4. Attorney General's Office (they work for the state, so they won't help me)
    5. Governor Kulongoski's Office Citizen Representative (again, he can't help me and I should pay for a lawyer)
    6. And now...I am waiting for a return call from State Senator Margaret Carter

    I'm shocked and amazed that
    1. No one that works for the state can help me with the application of a State Statute.
    2. That noone in the appropriate offices has ever heard of this even though the rule is explained in Question 20 of the "Family Law in Oregon" guide (something like 40% of kids are born to single mothers now, and I'd reason that a number of them were living seperately from the fathers at the time of birth).
    3. That the only advice I can get is to hire a lawyer- it makes me wonder how many women with the same problem but less means are out there and are just out of luck?

    I pay taxes, I don't need to pursue custody- I already have it, I just need the same proof of it that I would have gotten in a divorce, etc so that my daughter can travel with me.

    Can anyone help me with this? Every single person I've talked to has passed me on. I'd like to make sure that at the end of this journey, this becomes a resource that is easy to find for other women in my same position.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. #2
    TinkerBelleLuvr is offline Senior Member
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    You probably have to file for custody in the court system. Do you have any idea where the father of your child is?
  3. #3
    JRL
    JRL is offline Junior Member
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    I know where he is. I don't want to start a custody proceeding for a couple of reasons. Mainly, it's that I already have full custody, and don't want to jeopardize that. When I tried to get the passport, I hunted him down and asked him to come sign consent and he refused. Why? Just because he could. He has had every opportunity to be in her life and has not, he doesn't pay child support. He doesn't know anything about her, but he likes excercising what little control he has. Even though he's shown no interest in her, if I start a proceeding, he might just show up out of belligerance and hatefulness.

    I need to protect my daughter from that and from any possibility that he (abuser, alcoholic) will be awarded visitation or partial custody. Therefore, I'm pursuing obtaining proof of the custody I already have by state law.
  4. #4
    wileybunch is offline Senior Member
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    You have custody, but you don't have a CO or proof in the form required for international travel. Interesting. Maybe you can get a new statute added to your state's laws for this if you can't find a provision to grant this w/o going to family court and getting a CO.
  5. #5
    casa is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by JRL View Post
    I know where he is. I don't want to start a custody proceeding for a couple of reasons. Mainly, it's that I already have full custody, and don't want to jeopardize that. When I tried to get the passport, I hunted him down and asked him to come sign consent and he refused. Why? Just because he could. He has had every opportunity to be in her life and has not, he doesn't pay child support. He doesn't know anything about her, but he likes excercising what little control he has. Even though he's shown no interest in her, if I start a proceeding, he might just show up out of belligerance and hatefulness.

    I need to protect my daughter from that and from any possibility that he (abuser, alcoholic) will be awarded visitation or partial custody. Therefore, I'm pursuing obtaining proof of the custody I already have by state law.
    First of all, since you never sought Child Support through the Courts~ He's never been legally obligated TO pay support. So, that was/is as much your fault as his.

    Next, you have two choices:

    1) File for a formal Custody Order at your local courthouse. But since you Do Not want to open the door to possible visitation...

    2) File to Terminate Parental Rights based on Abandonment. 7 yrs of no contact & no support well exceeds every state's guideline for TPR. This is your easiest route. Then you are the only legal parent & you will also have that in a Court Order.

    Lastly, some of the avenues you've been pursuing are not the appropriate legal avenues....which is why you are not seeing results. The ONLY way to accomplish what you want is to get a COURT ORDER through Domestic/Family Court.

    There is no reason to waste all the time/money/energy doing anything else. IMO
  6. #6
    casa is offline Senior Member
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    Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. 419B.506 (WESTLAW through Or. 2003 Legis. Serv., Ch. 396)

    The rights of the parent or parents may be terminated if the court finds that the parent or parents have failed or neglected without reasonable and lawful cause to provide for the basic physical and psychological needs of the child or ward for 6 months prior to the filing of a petition. In determining such failure or neglect, the court shall disregard any incidental or minimal expression of concern or support and shall consider but not be limited to one or more of the following:

    Failure to provide care or pay a reasonable portion of substitute physical care and maintenance if custody is lodged with others;
    Failure to maintain regular visitation or other contact with the child or ward that was designed and implemented in a plan to reunite the child or ward with the parent;

    Failure to contact or communicate with the child or ward or with the custodian of the child or ward. In making this determination, the court may disregard incidental visitations, communications, or contributions.
  7. #7
    ACW72 is offline Junior Member
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    Unmarried Single Mother - Custody?

    As a single unmarried parent myself, I found your plight very interesting and familiar. I hadn't yet considered the problems associated with applying for a passport for a minor as my daughter is now only 5 and we haven't traveled out of the country just yet.

    However, in my attempts to refinance my home, I'm told that barring a legal order requiring my daughter's father to pay child support, even though he does pay each month and I have bank statements to prove it, I can not call that income.

    I do not want to obtain a legal order because my daughter's father is mostly uninvolved, this is by his own choice and is best for our daughter due to his behavior, and requesting the courts to provide me with a legal order for child support would only serve to disturb the "sleeping bear" and cause him to apply for custody and visitation. He's told me as much.

    I've been unable to refinance my home without the ability to claim the child support amount and have had no luck in researching reasons WHY I should file for custody, when my daughter has lived with me her entire life (dad never lived with us) so that I can, at the same time, file for a legal child support order.

    There seems to be a lack of legal information for unmarried parents in Oregon.
  8. #8
    Silverplum is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ACW72 View Post
    There seems to be a lack of legal information for unmarried parents in Oregon.
    There has to be a better solution than replying to old threads.

    Try Google. And your state's court website.
  9. #9
    casa is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ACW72 View Post
    As a single unmarried parent myself, I found your plight very interesting and familiar. I hadn't yet considered the problems associated with applying for a passport for a minor as my daughter is now only 5 and we haven't traveled out of the country just yet.

    However, in my attempts to refinance my home, I'm told that barring a legal order requiring my daughter's father to pay child support, even though he does pay each month and I have bank statements to prove it, I can not call that income.

    I do not want to obtain a legal order because my daughter's father is mostly uninvolved, this is by his own choice and is best for our daughter due to his behavior, and requesting the courts to provide me with a legal order for child support would only serve to disturb the "sleeping bear" and cause him to apply for custody and visitation. He's told me as much.

    I've been unable to refinance my home without the ability to claim the child support amount and have had no luck in researching reasons WHY I should file for custody, when my daughter has lived with me her entire life (dad never lived with us) so that I can, at the same time, file for a legal child support order.

    There seems to be a lack of legal information for unmarried parents in Oregon.
    This is dependent on your state, ie; if you are in CA ~You don't qualify because your income is not enough to support whatever the lender's requirements are. Child Support is NOT considered income in CA. The reason? Because sometimes Child Support is not paid. By Dads, By Moms. It doesn't always happen....therefore it is not income you can count on.
  10. #10
    casa is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by JRL View Post
    Oregon

    I am seeking assistance with obtaining PROOF of legal custody in the state of Oregon as pursuant to ORS 109.175 when legal custody is determined by statute, rather than through a proceeding.

    I am the single, unmarried mother of a 7 year old girl. When her father found out I was pregnant in 1999, he left. When I delivered our child in 2000, he came to the hospital and signed a Voluntary Affidavit of Paternity. On the affidavit, it reflects that we have seperate addresses. According to ORS 109.175, if two unmarried parents are not living together at the time of the signing of the affidavit, whoever has physical possession of the child at that time (me) has sole legal custody until a court deems otherwise. The Oregon Revised Statute is copied below:

    109.175. (1) If paternity of a child born out of wedlock is
    established pursuant to a petition filed under ORS 109.125 or an
    order or judgment entered pursuant to ORS 109.124 to 109.230 or
    ORS 416.400 to 416.470, or if paternity is established by the
    filing of a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity as provided by
    ORS 109.070 { - (1)(e) - } { + (1)(d) + }, the parent with
    physical custody at the time of filing of the petition or the
    notice under ORS 416.415, or the parent with physical custody at
    the time of the filing of the voluntary acknowledgment of
    paternity, has sole legal custody until a court specifically
    orders otherwise.

    However, since I did not go through a custody proceeding, as I would have in a divorce, I do not have a custody order or any proof that I have legal custody of my daughter.

    Since that time he has been an absent father. When I attempted to get my daughter a passport this year, I encountered serious difficulty, since the requirements state that either both parents listed on the birth certificate must be present or the accompanying parents must present proof of legal custody. After much arguing, I showed them the statute and affidavit and was granted a passport for her.

    I intend to take her on a cruise this summer, the first of many travels I hope to enjoy with her, and have been told that I will need to present proof of custody to take her into foreign countries. It seems that this will be a recurring problem, so I'm looking for assistance in getting some sort of legal documentation.

    So far I have contacted:
    1. The Multnomah County Courthouse Family Law Facilitator's Office (they had no idea what I was talking about and advised me to either start a new custody proceeding- a waste of taxpayer money and my time since I already have custody- or hire a lawyer)
    2. Oregon Courts Court Programs and Services (they told me that their lawyers work for the state and can't help me- funny, I thought I paid state taxes)
    3. Gordon Smiths Office (they can only help me with federal issues)
    4. Attorney General's Office (they work for the state, so they won't help me)
    5. Governor Kulongoski's Office Citizen Representative (again, he can't help me and I should pay for a lawyer)
    6. And now...I am waiting for a return call from State Senator Margaret Carter

    I'm shocked and amazed that
    1. No one that works for the state can help me with the application of a State Statute.
    2. That noone in the appropriate offices has ever heard of this even though the rule is explained in Question 20 of the "Family Law in Oregon" guide (something like 40% of kids are born to single mothers now, and I'd reason that a number of them were living seperately from the fathers at the time of birth).
    3. That the only advice I can get is to hire a lawyer- it makes me wonder how many women with the same problem but less means are out there and are just out of luck?

    I pay taxes, I don't need to pursue custody- I already have it, I just need the same proof of it that I would have gotten in a divorce, etc so that my daughter can travel with me.

    Can anyone help me with this? Every single person I've talked to has passed me on. I'd like to make sure that at the end of this journey, this becomes a resource that is easy to find for other women in my same position.

    Thanks in advance.

    There is a form at the USPS for absent parents &/or other scenarios. BTW - you should have custody as an unwed Mother in Oregon. Private Message me w/any questions re; the passport issue.
  11. #11
    Ohiogal is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by casa View Post
    There is a form at the USPS for absent parents &/or other scenarios. BTW - you should have custody as an unwed Mother in Oregon. Private Message me w/any questions re; the passport issue.
    Psst... the OP is long gone.
    Parents should remember 3 things: Love your kids more than you hate your ex; when you have children the relationship with the other parent is until death; your children determine what type of nursing home you end up in.
    Nothing stated by me should be taken as giving you legal advice or forming an attorney/client relationship.

    Attorney-GAL in Ohio.

    I've removed the knife from my back, polished it, and will one day return it -- long after you think I have forgotten.

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