A brief guide to divorce in Oregon
Couples with marital difficulties who are thinking of separating temporarily or separately in Oregon should be aware of the following:
Oregon state divorce laws
To file for divorce in Oregon, one or both spouses must have been a resident of the state for at least six months.
Grounds for divorce
Aside from individuals or couples requesting a no-fault divorce, there are three grounds for which spouses can file for an at-fault divorce in Oregon:
• “Duress,” meaning being forced by the threat of physical danger to perform illegal acts
• “Incapacitation,” meaning people afflicted by a condition which makes it impossible for them to look after themselves
Couples who are uncertain if they want to divorce in Oregon because of religious beliefs or other concerns may file for a legal separation. This divides property, assigns child custody and resolves issues of dispute between people who want to live apart without divorcing, or who have not lived in the state long enough to file for divorce. This document is legally binding and can be used as framework for a later divorce agreement or be withdrawn if the couple reconcile.
Types of divorce
Couples who are either jointly petitioning for divorce or who agree on all the terms of their separation are separating in an uncontested divorce. If a spouse does not consent to divorce or a couple cannot agree on issues such as alimony and child support, they will enter the court system as a contested divorce.
No fault divorce
Couples may file for a no fault divorce in Oregon on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. It is not necessary to demonstrate any wrongdoing on either spouse’s side to request this kind of divorce.
Steps in the divorce process
Unless a couple is jointly petitioning, the plaintiff will file a complaint in the county of either spouse’s residence. The defendant will be served notice of the divorce by a lawyer, sheriff or other adult and has 30 days to respond. If the couple cannot agree on the terms of their divorce in Oregon in the pretrial process, they will have their case heard by a judge who will resolve disputes over alimony, child support and similar matters.
There are three types of alimony one spouse may be ordered to pay another in cases of divorce in Oregon:
• Transitional support covers a brief period during which the other spouse undertakes new education or otherwise prepares to become financially self-sustaining.
• Maintenance support can be long-term or indefinite, and applies to spouses who are unable to maintain the same standard of living as they did in the marriage.
• Compensatory support is for people who have contributed enough to a marriage that they feel they are entitled to some additional compensation.
The spouse with a higher income may be ordered to pay monthly child support payments.
Fathers’ and mothers’ rights
Gender is not taken into account when making child custody judgments. Both parents must sign a parenting agreement specifying in detail how much access and time a noncustodial parent will with have their child.