Grandparents and other third party rights to children have their own options from seeking full legal custody to simply guaranteeing contact and communication with the child. In both Oregon and Washington, this also includes the possibility of seeking legal custody over the objections of the legal parents in limited cases.

To pursue rights as a third party, there must be either a relationship including the fulfillment of traditional parental duties or a continuous long-term visitation or contact arrangement. Because of constitutional constraints, the laws generally favor the legal parents in contests involved third parties (non-parents). The legal and evidentiary burdens on a third party are significant and to prevail, there must first be a determination that the legal parents are not acting in the child’s best interests. There are both factual and time-based criteria that must be satisfied as preliminary steps in the court’s analysis.

The lawyers at Gearing Rackner & McGrath have successfully represented clients on both ends of the spectrum. We can provide advice and, if necessary, effective advocacy to protect your legal rights in a contested third party custody or visitation proceeding.


If you need guidance to pursue your rights as a grandparent, relative, or non-parent, our firm’s award-winning attorneys can assist you with each step in the process. Call us at 503.222.9116 or write to us to learn more about how we can help you.

Get peace of mind with a personalized legal strategy.