Articles Tagged with Grandparents

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2015 House Bill 3014 signed by the Oregon Governor. (Keep an eye on OLIS to find the Oregon Laws Chapter number when it is assigned.)

See the Oregonian article: Oregon grandparents rights” by Amy Wang, 6/3/15:

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has signed a bill that will maintain grandparents’ legal rights if parents’ legal rights are terminated.

Currently, if a child’s parents have their rights terminated, the child’s grandparents also lose their legal rights to be in the child’s life. House Bill 3014 redefines the word “grandparent” to mean “the legal parent of the child’s or ward’s legal parent, regardless of whether the parental rights of the child’s or ward’s legal parent have been terminated.” [Link to Oregonian article.]

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Please also read previous blog posts on this topic, especially this one: Grandparent Visitation Rights in Oregon

There are lots of free legal forms online and in print, but none of them will be the exact forms you need in your specific case. You can lose a lot of time and money if you file the wrong forms.

Courts are very, very careful when it comes to child custody legal matters. Oregon courts do not have official or fill-in-the-blank child custody legal forms for parents, grandparents, or for any third party seeking child custody. You need to draft your own forms specific to your legal situation.

There is a useful booklet you can read for some background information on this subject. Link to the booklet from this blog post:

Oregon Legal Guide for Grandparents and Other Relatives Raising Children

If you want to represent yourself in your case, you will have to research the laws and the regulations about child custody and third-party rights and then you will have to prepare your case. You will need to do this research in a law library. You can find a list of Oregon county law libraries at the Oregon Council of County Law Libraries (OCCLL) website.

You can also ask a lawyer to serve as a “coach.” Find a lawyer who will review your situation. Explain that you want to proceed as a self-represented litigant and ask if the lawyer would be willing to serve as a “coach” to help you through the legal process. (This is also known as “limited scope legal assistance.” You and your lawyer will sign an agreement that limits the scope of the lawyer-client engagement and legal liability.)

You can also ask a lawyer to represent you in a custody case. The lawyer will give you an analysis of the likelihood of you prevailing in your case and give you an estimate of what it will cost.

The Oregon State Bar Information and Referral Service has a toll free number to call to get names of attorneys in your area; call their referral service at 503-684-3763 or 1-800-452-7636 or visit their website.

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Update update (ahem) to the “Oregon’s Legal Guide for Grandparents and Other Relatives Raising Children” handbook:

I have checked with the lead editor of “Oregon’s Legal Guide for Grandparents and Other Relatives Raising Children” and she confirmed that the 2012 edition is most recent one and an update isn’t likely much before 2015.

You can link to this publication from the OSU Extension website, but don’t confuse this legal guide with the “… Resources Guide ….” You want the “… Legal Guide ….”

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FACT: There are no fill-in-the-blank forms to submit to the court for grandparent visitation rights!

I repeat: THERE ARE NO OFFICIAL FORMS, NO UNOFFICIAL FORMS, and NO FILL-in-the-BLANK FORMS for petitioning the court for third-party or grandparent visitation rights.

If you don’t want to believe me, read the 2012 Legal Guide for Grandparents, which also says there are no fill-in-the-blank-forms.

These types of cases involve third party rights, which is what grandparents are, and can become very complicated very quickly. For example, the court will need to know things like these, among many other details about the litigants:

  • Is there a pending or closed case involving the parents?
  • Has there been juvenile court or DHS involvement?
  • Is there a support obligation floating around in an administrative or judicial proceeding?
  • For paternal grandparents, has paternity been established?
  • If there are multiple children and multiple grandparents, are there multiple fathers who may have their own judicial of administrative actions?

You can find NON-Oregon sample and generic “grandparent visitation” petitions and forms online, but the usual strong disclaimers apply (see the Legal Forms Pyramid).

The Bottom Line: Unless you know how to do the required legal research and legal drafting, and have the time and ability to read court rules, laws, statutes, and regulations, and consult with an Oregon attorney who specializes in family law (if only to avoid wasting time and money on filing a useless form), you are well advised to hire an attorney to represent your interests.

You may qualify for a free or low-cost legal assistance programs in Oregon. Please contact Legal Aid Services of Oregon, an Oregon Law Center office, your county’s senior services office (e.g. the Washington County Disability, Aging & Veterans Services office), or the Elders In Action office.

You may also call the Oregon State Bar for a lawyer referral.

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The “Resource Guide for Grandparents and Other Relatives Raising Children” has a 2012 update.

To obtain a copy of the “Legal Guide for Grandparents and Other Relatives Raising Children,” please contact AARP Oregon toll-free at (866) 554-5360, or download from the OSU Extension Service Family and Community Health website. (You can also search for it by title using a search engine of choice.)

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The Oregonian published an interesting AP article describing grandparent visitation law and practice around the country.
This is a complex area of law.  While everyone is welcome in the law library to research the subject and their specific question, we recommend you consult with a family law attorney in your state.
For legal advice you may want to contact the Oregon State Bar Information and Referral Service for the names of attorneys in your area; call their referral service at 503-684-3763 or 1-800-452-7636.


Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is for research purposes only.  We do not provide legal advice, nor do we endorse any person, product, or company.
Disclaimer: It is against state law for library staff members to engage in any conduct that might constitute the unauthorized practice of law (ORS 9.160, 9.166 and 9.21).  They may not interpret statutes, cases or regulations, perform legal research, recommend or assist in the preparation of forms, or advise patrons regarding their legal rights.  They may, however, assist patrons in locating materials or links that would aid in individual research.
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This popular and invaluable Washington County, Oregon, program is back (pre-registration is required to save a space!)
This event will be held on Friday, May 20th, 2011 from 9:00am to 2:00pm at the former Hillsboro PCC Center,
102 SW Washington St., Hillsboro


Pre-registration required.
Call 503-846-3089 to save your space!
Sponsored by: Washington County Disability, Aging & Veteran Services—Family Caregiver Support Program and Washington County Commission on Children & Families
This location is on the Trimet Hillsboro Blue MAX line (use the end of the line stop, Hatfield Transit Center) and on the Bus 57 line, which runs from Beaverton TC to Forest Grove.
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Washington County has brought back this needed and very popular event:

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Event

“…The activities will be held on Thursday, May 14, 2010, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Beaverton Foursquare Church, 13565 SW Walker Road in Beaverton. “We wanted to provide a relaxed event while providing top-rate speakers and a resource fair. And the event, including lunch, is free,” says Letourneau.

Speakers include:

1) Mark Kramer, a family law attorney, who will address legal trends for grandparent/third party rights

2) Julie McCloud, Crime Prevention Officer, Washington Co. Sheriff’s Office, Your Grandchild and Cyberspace

3) Jacci Jones, Youth Contact, and Katrina Miller, Morrison Child & Family Services, Communication in Parenting the Second Time Around

4) Leslie Congleton, Legacy Caregiver Services & Wellspring Yoga, Self Care: Reflect, Reconnect & Relax!…” (Link to full media release.)

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In Washington County (Oregon), April 2, 2009:

‘Day for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren: 37,536 Oregon children live with their grandparents

In Oregon, over 20,000 grandparents have stepped forward to raise children because their parents struggle with drug and alcohol abuse, incarceration, HIV/AIDS, mental illness, domestic violence, divorce, unemployment or military deployment,” notes Deborah Letourneau, Program Coordinator for Washington County’s Family Caregiver Support Program of Disability, Aging and Veteran Services.

Letourneau is announcing the agency’s first annual day-long event for grandparents, “Grandparents Raising Grandchildren: A Day for You.”

The activities will be held on Thursday, April 2, 2009, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Beaverton Foursquare Church, 13565 SW Walker Road in Beaverton.

“We wanted to provide a relaxed event – we’ll have free chair massages – while providing top-rate speakers and a resource fair. And the event, including lunch, is free!” …’ (link to full media release)

This, 20,000 grandparents, is a large number in a small state (from a population standpoint), but you can compare with other states.

County law libraries get many questions from grandparents, about adoption, about powers of attorney, about their grandchildren’s health care benefits, and more.

These are tough issues, many (most!) requiring consulting an attorney. If you want to do a little research beforehand, you can ask at your county law library.

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A recent story in the Oregonian, March 29th, 2007, headline, “Raising Grandkids,” by Abby Haight ((available through the public library’s Oregonian database and on the Oregonlive web page for 14 days after publication), has moved me to post some of the resources we point grandparents to when they come to the law library with their own grandkid-raising questions. (We probably get these questions every few weeks.)

Here are some Portland metro area and beyond sources of information:

1) Report: “Oregon’s Legal Guide for Grandparents and other Relatives Raising Children,” 2005.
2) County Government office: Your county’s Aging and Disabilities Services office

3) Organization: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Inc: 503-309-2146 (this is a Portland phone number)

4) Organization: AARP Grandparents

5) Organization: Elders in Action

6) Legal information: Oregon State Bar ( 503-684-3763) and Legal Aid Services of Oregon (503-648-7163)

7) Information on the Internet: Run a search in Dogpile or search engine of choice) using the words: grandparents raising grandchildren (or other words relevant to your situation).