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Oregon Grandparents' Rights

No Statute Specifically Provides for Visitation by Grandparents


Older man helping grandson ride bicycle

Grandparents seeking contact with grandchildren in Oregon may sue under a statute allowing third-party visitation.

Photo © Paul Bradbury | OJO Images | Getty Images

Oregon has no specific provisions for grandparent visitation, but does have statutes providing for visitation by non-parents. Such persons should have emotional ties with a child that have created a child-parent relationship or an "ongoing personal relationship." The statute defines a child-parent relationship as existing in whole or in part within the six months preceding the filing of a request for visitation. In this relationship, the person should have had physical custody, resided in the same house, or otherwise provided for the child's daily needs, meeting "the child's psychological need for a parent as well as the child's physical needs." The statute defines an "ongoing personal relationship" as one with with "substantial continuity for at least one year," featuring "interaction, companionship, interplay and mutuality."

As is usual, the parents are presumed to have acted in the best interest of the child in refusing visitation, and the person seeking visitation must rebut that presumption. In deciding whether to award visitation or contact rights over the objection of the legal parent, the court may consider factors including the following:

  • The grandparent is or recently has been the child’s primary caretaker.
  • Denying the request for visitation would be detrimental to the child.
  • The relationship between the grandparent and the child has been encouraged or consented to by the parent.
  • Visitation would not interfere with the custodial relationship.
  • The legal parent has unreasonably denied or limited visitation.

In deciding whether deciding whether the presumption of parents acting in the child's best interest has been rebutted, the court may consider the same factors, considering as well whether the legal parent is unwilling or unable to care for the child.

In a 2011 case, G.J.L. v. A.K.L., the Oregon Court of Appeals denied grandparents visitation even though they had been foster parents to their grandson for 14 months. The court ruled that the grandparents had not shown harm resulting from a denial of visitation and that they had not shown that visitation would not harm the parent-child relationship. In this case the court cited an "unhealthy relationship" between the mother and grandparents as a reason to deny visitation. Although the judgment seems harsh to grandparents, it is not atypical of decisions following the U.S. Supreme Court decision of Troxel v. Granville.

In Oregon, adoption terminates visitation rights.

See Oregon Statute 109. Scroll down to 109.119.

Go back to grandparents rights by state.

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