Oregon Case Law on Visitation

Provided by Oregon Mens' Association

Bartlett v. Bartlett , 175 Or 215, 224 (1944), provides that a non-custodial parent has a prima facie right to visit his children.

State ex rel Juvenile Dept. of Lane Co. v. Lauffenberger, 308 Or 159 (1989), provides that a father's rights, as a natural parent, has constitutional underpinnings.

Zockert v. Fanning, 310 Or 514 (1990), provides that both parent and child have a liberty interest in continuation of their association.

Doty and Doty, 101 Or App 320 (1990): "Visitation serves two purposes: (1) It helps the child to know and share life with both parents; and (2) it recognizes and implements the rights of the parents to know and share the love of the child."

Delf and Delf, 19 Or App 439 (1974): "There are two basic policies to be achieved in the granting of visitation privileges to a parent who does not have custody: The right of the child to the emotional, social and learning benefits of as stable a relationship as is possible with both of the parents, and the right of a parent to know and share the love of the child. These policies can best be achieved by giving to the non-custodial parent extensive visitation so as to approximate a normal familial relationship".

McGetrick v. McGetrick, 204 Or App 645 (1955), provides that fathers and mothers are challenged to minimize, as far as possible, "the incidental and unavoidable losses of love, counsel and guidance" generated by the broken home.

Warren v. Warren, 19 Or App 671 (1974), provides that in a case marked by a continuing adversarial, competitive relationship between the parents, reinforced by the attitudes and conduct of the maternal grandparents, the hostility was reflected in the emotional states of the children. "Whoever may have custody, it is the duty of each parent and each family member to the children to set aside personal feelings and act in a manner which is supportive of the relationship of the children to the other parent."

State v. McMaster, 259 Or 291, 296 (1971), provides that emphasis on the welfare and best interests of the child implies that the constitutional issues of both the child and the parents must be examined.

In Adams and Adams, 55 Or App 366 (1981), the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled that the father was entitled to the opportunity to enjoy the loving companionship of his child, including the right not to have that relationship disturbed by the custodial parent. Judge Warren's opinion stated: "We do not believe that a custodial parent's dislike for her former spouse and her possible attempt to implant that dislike in the child is a basis for termination or suspension of visitation of the non-custodial parent we will not deprive a parent of his right to the companionship of his child because of the custodial parent's efforts to manipulate the child. Furthermore, it is in the child's best interest to develop a healthy relationship with both parents, which would be impossible if all contact with [the] father were severed."

Birge and Birge, 34 Or App 581 (1978), provides that a custodial parent using the child as a weapon in an ongoing hostility with the non-custodial parent resulted in harm to the child, which was held sufficient to warrant a change of custody. Judge Richardson noted, in the Court's opinion: "The growth and maturation of a child is not restricted to its physical well being. It is equally important that a child live in an environment which will allow proper nurture of emotional growth. When dissolution requires that custody be given to one parent, it is essential that the parents do nothing to interfere with the bonds of love and affection the child may develop for each parent."

Remington and Remington, 29 Or App 135 (1977), provides that parental rights have been recognized even when a child was suffering from depression as a result of his inability to understand his relationship with the non-custodial parent and its effect on his relationship with his custodial family unit.

Pendergrass v. Toombs, 24 Or App 719 (1976), provides the single Oregon case comparing the parental rights of a mother's right to breast-feed and a father's parental rights. Specifically, "The right to rear children involves more than just breast-feeding and is a right of fathers as well as mothers" (24 Or App at 722).

Moody v. Voorhies, 257 Or 105, 111 (1970), provides: "courts are bound by the language of the statutes and cannot rearrange parent-child relationship[s] except when the statutory criteria have been met." See also Strobel v. Garrison, 255 Or 16 (1969), rehearing denied 255 Or 29 (1970).

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