Portland, OR asked in Child Custody for Oregon

Q: What rights do grandparents have to their grandchild? How do they get custody?

My girlfriends parents (A) are talking about filing for custody to their son’s (B), kid(C) Citing drug use in (B) as reason. No criminal record on (B), just accusations from family , mostly. If CPS is notified, what are they gonna do? B,C, live along with c’s mother separate from A.

My girlfriend cares for B because they grew up together. What could be done to legally get proof of drug use?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Joanne Reisman
Joanne Reisman
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Portland, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: !. Biological Parents have the superior right to parent their children but if they are being neglectful DHS can take their children into protective custody. It would not be neglect for a parent who knows and admits they have a problem to place their child voluntarily with a another responsible adult. So the brother's best option would be to place his child with someone who is capable of caring for the child before DHS gets involved or before the grandparents file something with the court.

2. DHS can of course get involved if they have reason to believe that the child is being neglected or endangered. Once DHS get's involved they can also investigate any family member who wants to take custody of the child. Sometimes things work out well, but sometimes the child ends up in foster care and the parental rights get terminated and the child is adopted by a new family. This is only after a period of time where the biological parent is given a chance to follow a plan that will allow the child to be returned to their care. Meanwhile the child suffers as the child is placed in many homes during the ordeal.

3. There isn't a specific law that gives grandparents rights. However the is a psychological parent law that allows any adult who has developed close ties with the child to intervene to either get custody or visitation. You can read the law here: https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/109.119

4. Finally, there are laws that allow anyone apply to be a guardian for the child. https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/125.300

I can't comment on how one proves drug use in a particular case. It depends on the facts and circumstances of each case. But I suppose the person seeking the proof could apply to the court for an order requiring the parent to submit to drugs testing.

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