John Day, OR asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Oregon

Q: What can i do if non custodial parent won't return child at end of court agreed upon visitation time in oregon.

Police have gone with me but she refused to open door so they told me it is a civil matter.

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

A: This is typical of the police but sometimes they are much more helpful if you have a certified copy of the Judgment and parenting plan which leaves no doubt that you are entitled to have the child at that point. There can still be a problem if it isn't clear that you get the child at that time. For example if the parenting plan (ordered by the court) says parent A is the custodial parent and parent B has the child the first and third weekend of each month - then it is clear when the child is with either parent. But if instead it says that parent B has the child every other weekend, there is no certainty as to which weekend in the rotation you are dealing with. Your options are to take the matter back to court. Courts are operating on a reduced basis but they are still allowing you to file. There is something called a writ of assistance which is like a warrant that the court can sign and then you can use that to get the police to assist you. You can also file to enforce parenting time or to modify custody and parenting time. Here is the more practical solution. Hire an Attorney to contact the mother for you by phone or letter and explain what the consequences are going to be if the child isn't returned by a certain date. But be prepared to pay the Attorney to follow through with the appropriate court filings if mother chooses to ignore this. Also it might be a good idea to figure out why the mother is doing this. Many parents are afraid of the pandemic right now so fear is driving their behavior. We don't know if that is a factor in your situation so that is something to discuss with your Attorney.

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