Considering Everyone Else: Which Family Ties Matter in a Custody Decision?

One of the important factors courts look into in a custody dispute is the relationship the child has with other family members. Important family relationships include those between the child and grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and even in some cases, step-parents.

With that said, where other family members are concerned, siblings are of most interest to the court. Though it will be considered as only one among several factors, keeping siblings together is generally considered to be in the child’s best interests and can influence the custody decision in a divorce. For example, in Kesterson v. Kesterson (1977), the court ultimately awarded custody to the mother because the father had requested custody of only two of the three children. The extended family is less relevant to Oregon law, and decisions are unlikely to be made based on those relationships, but the parents’ attitude towards maintaining them has been noted in several cases.

The defining and weighing of relationships in a custody case can be complicated. McGuire + Thompson, LLC can provide you with legal counsel, help show how the court might interpret the child’s best interests in your family, and make sure the balance is in your favor. Give us a call or visit our website at for more information.

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