July 6, 2012

Dundee Murder-Suicide And Emergency Custody Order

Local and national news is abuzz with the tragic story of the Engels family, a murder-suicide that occurred in Dundee, OR on July 4, 2012. The news stories discuss that Amy Engels had filed for divorce on May 29th, 2012 and sought emergency custody of the children by filing for an emergency custody order under ORS 107.093(3).  I  previously blogged about the two types of emergency custody orders, first in 2008, and again in 2010.  Mrs. Engels’ filing was pre-judgment, and was denied when presented to Judge Carroll J. Tichenor. Mrs. Engels did not use a lawyer, and her affidavit in support of the emergency custody order was vague and didn’t list a specific danger to the children. It’s common for self represented litigants to prepare emergency custody filings with less detail than the court needs to grant an order.  She may have been able to obtain a Family Abuse Prevention Act Restraining order based on the threat that would have received more attention from law enforcement, but she didn’t apply for one, and we don’t know if she was advised to obtain one or not. A consultation with a divorce lawyer may have given Mrs. Engels the information she needed to obtain better protection.

The Oregonian published an early breaking story on the tragedy, as did the Associated Press. The Oregonian article can be found here.  The Associated Press article can be found here.

Other Popular Articles and links from the Oregon Divorce Blog

  1. Top 10 questions to ask a divorce lawyer in the first consultation.
  2. At what age can a child decide custody/parenting time?
  3. Contempt Of Court for Parenting Time Violations