Frequently Asked Questions
Michael A. Neal, P.C. provides family-law services to Oregon clients. Many prospective and current clients have legal questions, especially when dealing with an unfamiliar legal matter; below are some answers to frequently asked questions. Our practice areas overview has additional information about our experience in these areas.
While these answers are a helpful guide to your legal matters, they are no substitute for experienced legal counsel. Contact the office of Michael A. Neal, P.C. today for a consultation to discuss your family-law matter. We are available by appointment on evenings and Saturdays and family-law consultations are free.
Do we have to go to court?
We can help you seek a swift resolution of your divorce by encouraging negotiations and other amicable discussions outside the courtroom, including mediation. By discussing divorce matters openly and honestly, some clients are able to obtain a divorce without an extended litigation battle. While we can help facilitate these alternative dispute resolution methods, there are many clients who require litigation to obtain fair results. When litigation is unavoidable, we offer legal representation rooted in over two decades of family law practice. For more information, visit our divorce page.
How will custody of our children be decided?
Ideally, you and your spouse can agree upon a fair arrangement that allows for joint custody of your children. Oregon law considers the best interests of the children as the most important factor in determining custody. Typically, one parent is awarded primary physical custody, while the other parent is often required to pay child support and a visitation schedule is arranged. In situations where one parent's custody would be detrimental to the child, the other parent can obtain sole custody. Visitation rights, sometimes supervised, may still be available to the parent who has been deemed unfit for custody.
How much child support will I have to pay?
It depends. Child support orders consider the annual income and financial status of both parents. Typically, when one parent has primary or sole custody, the non-custodial parent will be responsible for periodic payments to help the custodial parent provide for the child. The payment amount is a reflection of the disparity between the spouses' respective earning power, factoring in the time away from employment required to adequately raise the child. Each case is unique and subject to the discretion of the court, so retaining an experienced family lawyer is essential to ensuring a favorable support order.
We would like to obtain legal custody of our grandchild. What do we need to do?
Grandparents or other relatives, or persons acting as a parent, such as an aunt or uncle, may be able to obtain custody of a child by court order. Courts will look at a number of factors in determining whether the grandparents are suitable custodians, although they must have already been in a beneficial custodial role for the children. When making a custody determination, courts will always put primary emphasis on the best interests and welfare of the child.
If my grandchild's legal parent will not let me visit the child, can I obtain visitation rights?
Perhaps. Obtaining visitation rights can be difficult, because Oregon presumes that the parent is acting in the best interests of the child when denying you visitation. However, you can rebut this presumption in court by demonstrating how your visitation would benefit the child and not interfere with custody or other aspects of the child's upbringing. Courts will often grant visitation rights to grandparents and other relatives when these factors weigh in favor of visitation and the denial by the legal parent is deemed unreasonable.