Eugene, OR asked in Divorce, Family Law and Child Custody for Oregon

Q: My nephew is still married but doesn't live in the house anymore because his wife was beating him up. He did not call p

He has not charged her. Now she is keeping the kids from him. There is no custody order and he believes the kids are not in a safe place. If he gets visitation, does he have to return them?

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

A: An Attorney cannot practice law by proxy. This is your nephew's issue and he needs to be the one to contact an Attorney for advice. Often people in frustrating situations will tell friends and relatives a very biased version of the facts because they are seeking sympathy and validation, not legal help.

He's and adult and a father so he needs to take responsibility and pick up a phone and call an Attorney. If he is concerned with cost then you could offer to help him out. He doesn't have to spend much money to just talk to an Attorney about the situation.

I also have to point out that if he truly believes his children are in danger he has a duty to protect them and right now he isn't doing that. So either the situation isn't as bad as he is saying it is or he is a negligent father and may not deserve to have children in his custody because he doesn't protect them from abuse. I have seen a lot of these situations and rarely are the children in danger although the dysfunctional situation when two parents are constantly going at each other isn't healthy for the children. But the parents separating tends to calm this down. When the case if filed in the court both parents will be forced to take a parenting class and learn how to separate their domestic issues from their parenting responsibilities.

Ultimately the court may be asked to order a child custody evaluation where a professional will evaluate the situation and report back to the court. Unless one parent has some issue that is completely out of control, like they are engaged in criminal activities, they have an active substance abuse issue, etc. the court will order some type of parenting plan where both parents share time with the children and it is court ordered so it is not optional. Where there is an issue that makes it unsafe for a parent to have the children in their care, the court will order supervised visitation. If there are anger issues a parent can be required to take anger management classes.

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