In a Child’s Best Interests: Abuse

In part 5 of this 7 part series, we discuss the Abuse factor.

In Oregon, if one parent has been found to have abused the other parent, there is a presumption that it is not best for the child to be in the custody of the abuser. A presumption means that we act as if it is true that it is not best for the child to be in the custody of the abuser. There are several ways that a person can be found to have abused someone:

  1. If a person has a Family Abuse Prevention Act (FAPA) restraining order served on them and that person challenges the restraining order and loses (the restraining order stays in place), abuse has occurred;
  2. If a person is convicted in the criminal courts of abusing the other parent, abuse has occurred; or
  3. If a person can prove to the family law court by a preponderance of the evidence (51% likely), abuse has occurred.

If it is established that abuse has occurred and the person found to be the abuser wishes to challenge the presumption that it not best for that person to have custody, they must present evidence and convince the court that the presumption should be ignored. This can be challenging and usually is only successful if a long period of time has passed between the finding of abuse and the custody case.

A finding of abuse does not mean that the parent found to have abused the other parent will not get parenting time. There may be restrictions and other protections in place, but the children are still entitled to see their parent.

Stay tuned for part 6 for a more in depth discussion about the Primary Caregiver.