Tacoma, WA asked in Child Custody for Oregon

Q: My 17 year old son has a child he is not allowed to see. Is he old enough to file for custody and or parenting time

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

A: I am going to assume that he is in Oregon as your location is stated to be Washington State. The laws vary from State to State and I only practice in Oregon. Your son is not considered a legal adult at age 17 and while he should have rights as a father I believe he would need a guardian ad litem to bring a case in the court. That is where he has a representative adult appointed by the court to figurehead his case on his behalf. It would still be his case Alternatively he could go through the process of being emancipated. But there would be the cost of hiring an Attorney.

Here is what I am going to recommend. Have him hire an Oregon Attorney. His Oregon Attorney can contact that mother and explain how under Oregon Law not allowing that other parent to see their joint child is really frowned on by the court. (On of the grounds to get custody in Oregon is to show the court that the other parent is not facilitating parenting time with the other parent.) His Attorney can also educate him and the mother on what is an appropriate visitation plan for a newborn or infant. These are very young parents and I suspect that their lack of understanding of the law is leading them to be unreasonable with each other on top of the emotional issues in their relationship. An Attorney can be more objective and help them find a middle ground.

Also when he turns 18 with the help of his Attorney he will have documentation of the mother refusing to cooperate if that is what happens and that can all be presented to the court. As a practical matter the courts are in recess while this pandemic passes over us. The courts are conducting some limited types of hearings but I doubt he will be able to get any hearing on his parenting rights right away. The last report I read is that the Multnomah County Circuit Court is resetting all trials until June or July and that could get extended again depending how our health crisis is developing as time goes by. Attorneys however continue to offer legal services but they may be doing so by video conference or phone conference instead of in person meetings. Your son can still get excellent legal advice and representation is he so chooses. The best thing you can do right now is help pay his legal fees at least for a consultation and possible for the Attorney to initiate contact with the mother.

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