Judgments of Dissolution in Oregon are required to recite the terms of ORS 107.159, which states the court shall include in its order a provision requiring that neither parent may move to a residence more than 60 miles further distant from the other parent without giving the other parent reasonable notice.
It is important to read this carefully. There is not a requirement of notice for any move of 60 miles or more.
There is only a requirement of notice if the move will put the other parent more than 60 miles further away than they are now.
If Mother, for example, lives in Eugene, and Father lives in Corvallis, Mother can move to Gresham or Troutdale without giving prior notice, even though both would be moves of about 150 miles from Eugene, and even though both would result in a distance between households of about 100 miles. Eugene is almost 50 miles south of Corvallis. This means that a move to a place such as Gresham or Troutdale, which are both less than 110 miles north of Corvallis, does not technically violate the terms of the statute or a divorce judgment that incorporates the statute, since the distance is not more than 60 miles further than the original distance between the homes.
This is not the end of the issue, of course.
While there is a requirement for notice, if moving more than 60 miles further distant from the other parent, this requirement can be waived for good cause shown.
In addition, even if the move does not require notice per the statute or the terms of the Judgment of Dissolution, as above, the non-moving parent can still bring a case arguing that the move is not in the best interests of the child. Which parent will prevail in such a case can be difficult to predict. The outcome will depend on a large number of factors.
Similarly, even if the notice must be given, it can be difficult to determine in advance whether a challenge to the move will be successful, since a court could well find that the move is in the best interests of the children in some cases, but might find such a move was not in the best interest of some other child in some other case.
In a perfect world, of course, the parents will work together to come up with the best option for their joint child or children in these circumstances. Where parents cannot work together successfully, however, a court may need to decide. It is important to remember that the result in one case should not be considered a predictor of the result even in a case that seems to one or the other parent to be similar.
Steven A. Heinrich
Divorce & Custody
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