Standing Up For Grandparent Rights
Protecting Children And Preserving Family Bonds
It is becoming more common that parents are incapable of properly caring for their children, due to drug addiction, incarceration, mental illness or other reasons. It is also common when couples split up or one parent dies that grandparents and other relatives are cut off from the children.
Oregon law allows grandparents and other third parties to obtain visitation rights, child custody and even child support. The law office of Elaine D. Smith-Koop, LLC, offers strong legal advocacy if you are seeking custody of a grandchild or regular visits. I am an experienced family law lawyer who practices in Marion County and surrounding jurisdictions of the Willamette Valley. I am knowledgeable about the law, but sensitive to family dynamics in these unfortunate situations. Contact my Salem law firm for a confidential consultation.
Marion County Grandchild Custody And Visitation Attorney
Grandparents do not have any official status under the law, but Oregon statute does recognize “psychological parents” in child custody cases. I assist grandparents (or aunts/uncles, adult siblings, godparents, etc.) in proving that they have filled the parenting void if the biological parent was absent or unfit. If the court awards custody to the grandparents, it can also order the natural parent(s) to pay child support.
Likewise, there are no automatic “grandparent rights” to visitation. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that biological parents are the gatekeepers of their children. However, Oregon family courts have granted scheduled visitation to grandparents and family members who have an established bond with a child. I help clients document their regular and positive involvement in the grandchild’s life and show how the child would be harmed if the relationship were discontinued.
What About The Biological Parents?
Grandparent custody or third-party custody is not about tearing families apart. It is about providing a safe and healthy home. Despite mistreatment or neglect, children placed with extended family yearn for their moms and dads, and it may be beneficial for the child to maintain ties. Grandparent custody does not necessarily require termination of parental rights. The courts will usually grant visitation to parents who want to stay connected.
Experienced, Compassionate Representation In Salem And Beyond
If you believe that you have been the psychological parent or if you have been abruptly cut out of your grandchild’s life, I am here to help. These are fact-specific cases. I will give you my honest legal opinion and fiercely advocate for you and your grandchildren in court proceedings or negotiation of visitation.