Family Law & Divorce

Child Custody

The well-being of children is the heart of any custody proceeding.  The best interests of children govern Oregon family law in this area.  Whether married or unmarried, if you are fighting for your child then you need an attorney that knows the law and understands the emotional impact this kind of dispute can have on children and parents.  That is the kind of expert and compassionate representation you will find at Karpstein & Verhulst P.C.

Custody only applies to children under the age of 18.  There are two types of custody: legal and physical.  A parent having legal custody has the primary authority regarding things such as school, religion, and medical decisions.  A parent who has primary physical custody simply cares for the child in their home more than the other parent.  Physical custody is often confused with parenting time, and while the two ideas are similar, they each have their own legal meanings.  The “best interest of the child” is the primary standard in Oregon for making legal determinations about child custody.  It is important to consult an attorney about your specific circumstances regarding custody.

Child & Spousal Support

There are many myths about child support, so it is important talk with an attorney about your specific circumstances before making assumptions.  You can browse the Oregon Department of Justice website to learn more about child support issues.  Child support ends when a child reaches 18 years old unless the child qualifies as a “child attending school” under Oregon law.  In that case, child support might continue until the child is 21 years old.

If your spouse makes more money than you, and you have been married for many years, it may be appropriate for you to receive spousal support.  Other states call this “alimony” and the terms essentially mean the same thing.  There are many legal factors which go into determining spousal support, but ultimately it is about fairness.


Divorce, or “dissolution,” touches every area of an individual’s life.  It is important to hire an attorney who can see the big picture and walk you through tough decisions that will have a big impact on your future.  Going through a divorce will require attention to financial, insurance, property and family relationship concerns.  We believe in working with you as a team to reach the best outcome possible for your unique situation.

Enforcement and Contempt

Do you have a custody or divorce judgment in place but your “ex” refuses to follow it?  You should consult with an attorney about your legal options for enforcing the judgment that is already in place.  This is particularly important when you are not receiving parenting time or support related to your child.  Enforcement or contempt may also be an appropriate legal remedy when one party has not followed through with important court orders, such as completing medical or life insurance documents for the benefit of the other party.

Name Change

Adult name changes can be very straightforward and may not require the aid of an attorney unless there are unique complications.   Many counties in Oregon have very specific instructions and forms for requesting a name change for an adult.  However, you should consult an attorney in order to ensure that you understand the process before filing for a name change.  In a divorce, you may change your name back to a maiden or other given name by ensuring that it is included in the divorce judgment.

Changing your child’s name can be very simple or very complicated depending on your situation, so it is important to consult an attorney for your minor child.

Parenting Time

Parenting time simply refers to the time you spend with your child.  This makes it different from legal child custody.  Therefore, it is possible to adjust parenting time without changing which parent has legal custody.  In Oregon, the primary legal standard governing a parenting time dispute is based on the best interest of the child.


  • Adoptions
  • Custody
  • Child Support
  • Divorce
  • Grandparent’s Rights
  • Guardianships
  • Modifications
  • Name Changes
  • Parenting Time
  • Restraining Orders
  • Spousal Support
  • Stalking Orders