If you have separated from your spouse, or are planning to do so but have a high conflict relationship, there are specific safety considerations to keep in mind. Perhaps you are currently suffering from financial or emotional abuse, or have a particularly manipulative partner. How can you keep yourself and your children safe?
When married parents divorce in Oregon, a parenting plan must be filed with the final divorce decree or child custody order. The plan sets forth when each parent will have the child, including holidays or breaks from school. Depending on the age of your child, the plan will vary, and evolve over time as he or she grows up.
Oregon courts have a variety of resources that you can access to determine the level of intervention needed. But you will need to discuss your situation and the options available with your attorney. If your child is still very young, your coparenting schedule will need to be tailored to meet the child’s developmental stage.
Basic vs safety parenting plans
The court has a checklist to help you decide whether supervised visitation or other interventions are necessary for your situation. Signs that indicate the need for a safety based plan include the presence of unmanaged mental health issues, past acts of violence against you, the child, property, or pets; or if your partner has ever threatened to hurt you physically or committed acts of physical or sexual abuse against anyone in the past.
If there are factors that prompt the need to protect your child, then the safety based parenting plan will set forth the terms that the soon to be ex-partner will be required to follow when the child is in his or her care. The court may find that no parenting time is appropriate, or that supervision is needed. When supervised visitation is ordered the plan will define the following:
- Selection of the supervising party;
- Whether the parent has access to the child’s extracurricular activities and events;
- Set forth specific safety rules, such as forbidding firearms, consumption of alcohol, physical discipline, or restricting certain persons from being around the child;
- Location where the visitation will take place;
- Drop-off and exchange locations;
- Limits on communications with the child.
With some forethought and guidance from your attorney and other custody professionals, you will be able to draw up a parenting plan to fit your specific circumstances.