How to get divorced in Oregon

Tags: Online Divorce, Oregon

Image: DC Colombia / iStock

By Valerie Keene

Published Jul 27, 2022

Requirements for divorce in Oregon

Oregon is a completely “no-fault” divorce state and does not have an option for you to file for a “fault-based” divorce. All divorces are known as “dissolution of marriage” in Oregon.

You can file for divorce in Oregon if:

  • Your spouse and you were married in Oregon, so long as either of you is a resident of Oregon when the divorce case began. It does not matter how long you’ve lived in Oregon, as long as it is currently your place of residence.

  • Your spouse and you were married outside of Oregon, then one spouse at least should have lived in Oregon for a minimum of 6 months before you can file for divorce.

  • The spouse filing for divorce should also file with the court a residency certificate stating that at least one of the spouses lives in the filing county currently.

  • Since there is no mandatory waiting period in the state of Oregon any longer, you can end your marriage in a few days of filing for divorce.

Oregon grounds for divorce

As discussed earlier, Oregon is a “no-fault” divorce state and the spouse who is filing for divorce must just state that both spouses have “irreconcilable differences.” There is no need for the other spouse to agree that the marriage cannot be saved. The court will dissolve your domestic partnership or marriage irrespective of whether your spouse agrees to the divorce or not.

The judgment for the “dissolution of marriage” may be given:

  • If either of the spouses was not capable of consenting to the marriage due to insufficient understanding or not being of legal age or making the marriage contract.

  • If the consent of either spouse was got by fraud or force

  • If there are “irreconcilable differences” between both spouses that has caused an “irretrievable breakdown” of the marriage.

Step 1: Starting your or divorce

  • Oregon law lets couples of the same sex to enter into domestic partnerships and they must also follow the same procedure as traditional marriages to end the union in the state.

You can file for a “summary dissolution” if there are not many issues in your marriage or your domestic partnership. This type of divorce lets you end your marriage or your domestic partnership without being too expensive or getting delayed because of court hearings.

To qualify for a summary dissolution, you must fulfill the following criteria:

  • You should have been married for 10 years or lesser than 10 years.

  • Your spouse and you should not have any minor children or adult children studying in high school.

  • Your spouse and you do not own any property such as land, buildings, etc.

  • The personal property belonging to your spouse and you, individually, as well as jointly, is less than $30,000 after subtracting any money owed on it.

  • The individual and joint debts of your spouse and you are not greater than $15,000.

  • You waive all your spousal support rights.

  • You waive your rights to any temporary orders.

  • There are no other divorce actions which are pending in any other state.

Summary Dissolution

You must file the following documents for a summary divorce:

  • Instructions

  • Petition for Summary Dissolution: Establishes the marriage history, residency of both spouses, children, child custody and support, distribution of property – real and personal and division of debt.

  • Summons: Provides the respondent 30 days in which he/she must file an answer, otherwise he/she will face default. There is no summons issued in case both spouses file for divorce jointly as co-petitioners.

  • Declaration of Service

  • Acceptance of Service (if your spouse waives service)

Dissolution of Marriage

If you do not qualify for a summary divorce, then you need to file for a complete “dissolution of marriage.” If you don’t have children with your spouse, then you must file the following documents:

  • Instructions

  • Petition

  • Summons

  • Affidavit of Petitioner Supporting Judgment of Dissolution: By asking questions regarding residency and divorce requirement, this form ensures that you qualify for a divorce in Oregon.

  • General Judgment of Dissolution and Money Award: Has the terms and conditions of the divorce including the parenting plan, parental responsibilities statement, findings of fact, child support and division of the marital estate.

  • Acknowledgment

  • Affidavit of Service: This is used to serve the divorce papers to the respondent after the divorce forms are filed with the court clerk.

  • Acceptance of Service: The petitioner serves this form along with the summons after he/she files for divorce.

  • Record of Dissolution of Marriage, Annulment or Registered Domestic Partnership: This is filed in order to record the dissolution of the marriage.

If your spouse and you either have adopted or biological minor children, then apart from the forms for a regular divorce, you must also file the following forms:

  • Supplement to Petition

  • Certificate Re: Pending Proceedings for Child Support and/or Existing Child Support Judgments/ Orders: Certifies that the children are/are not involved in any child support proceedings either in Oregon or anywhere else.

  • Petitioner’s Certificate of Mailing

  • Record of Dissolution of Marriage, Annulment or Registered Domestic Partnership

Filing Your Forms

Once you complete all the documents necessary to file for divorce, you can either file your forms personally or send them by mail to the court.

Step 2: Serving your spouse

Unless your spouse and you have filed the divorce petition as “co-petitioners”, once you have filed your divorce petition, you must serve the papers to your spouse in order to bring him/her within the court’s jurisdiction.

Your spouse must file a response within 30 days of service if he/she wants to contest any of the issues mentioned in the divorce petition.

Your spouse can sign the Acceptance of Service form and waive the service process, which essentially means that your spouse has received the forms. You must then file the signed Acceptance of Service form with the court.

If your spouse does not sign the Acceptance of Service form, then you can serve the papers via the sheriff or by using a private process server. The court may also allow you to inform your spouse that you have filed for divorce via publication in the newspaper in the case that the location of your spouse is unknown.

Step 3: Contested or uncontested OR divorce?

Contested Divorce

If your spouse and you are unable to come to an agreement on the various issues of the divorce, then the divorce is a contested one, wherein you ask the court to make the decisions on the issues for you. Some reasons why couples pursue a contested divorce with a divorce lawyer representing them is if there is substantial property to be divided with many houses, land, businesses, high-value assets and money or one spouse requiring protection from an abusive partner, etc.

However, contested divorces are very expensive because you need to pay the fees of the attorney who is representing you in court and contested divorces take a long time too.

Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce is called a “Short Form Dissolution” or a “Summary Dissolution” in Oregon. To file for this short form of divorce your spouse and you must fulfill certain criteria and this type of divorce allows you to end your marriage without going to court at all.

You can participate in negotiations that are guided by your attorney and make the decisions on the key issues such as assets, child custody, etc. An uncontested divorce is simpler, efficient and cost effective when compared to a contested divorce.

Step 4: Do it yourself or hire a lawyer?

DIY divorce (Free)

If your spouse and you agree on all the issues of your divorce, then you will not require a lawyer. You can file the divorce papers on your own and get a divorce. If you want any help with the paperwork and with the legal procedures during the filing stage, then the court will assign a counselor to help you.

All you need to do is fill out the forms, which come along with specific instructions on the information you need to provide. These documents have information regarding your family situation, division of assets, custody and support arrangements, etc. Once the forms are completed, you can file them with the county clerk.

Online Divorce Service (Low Costing)

If you’re not really sure about how to go about filling the right forms to file for divorce, you can use the services of an online divorce service which is a good solution for an uncontested divorce in Oregon. The best option on the market is 3StepDivorce as mentioned above (Read our review).

Online services prepare all your documents for you based on the information provided by you and also give you detailed instructions on how to complete your divorce case on your own, and also file your documents in the appropriate county court. And, all this is done by the online service at a nominal fee which they charge for their services.

Attorney Divorce Trial  (Expensive)

If your spouse and you do not agree on the various issues of the divorce, then it is a contested divorce and your court will go to trial where it will be heard by a judge.

Your spouse and you will require a divorce attorney who will present and argue the case on your behalf in court and also present the evidence, witness testimonies, etc. Typically, divorce trials take a very long time and are quite expensive too as you need to bear the fees of the divorce lawyers, which can be quite high.

Step 5: the major divorce issue

OR property division

Any pension or retirement plan or interest from these are considered as property in Oregon. The contribution made by the spouse who is a homemaker as contribution to the procuring of marital assets. When you file for divorce, the rights of your spouse and you in the marital assets is considered as a type of co-ownership and the jointly-owned property will be divided.

Your spouse and you must fully disclose all your assets to the court on basis of which the court will divide the property justly. The court will consider the cost of asset sale, taxes and any other costs incurred or anticipated by both spouses.

If either spouse has been awarded spousal support by the court instead of a share of the property, then the court will order the obligated spouse to provide and maintain an amount equal to the obligation to the other spouse.

If the obligated spouse dies before the support is terminated, then the court may modify the payment method of spousal support to a lump sum payment from the obligated spouse’s estate for the amount equal to the value of the spousal support being paid at the time of the death of the obligated spouse.

OR Alimony / Spousal Support

Spousal maintenance that must be paid by one spouse to another for a specific or indefinite period of time depends on the following factors:

  • Length of the marriage.

  • Age of both spouses.

  • Health and mental, physical and emotional condition of both spouses.

  • Standard of living maintained by both spouses while they were married.

  • Income and earning capability of both spouses.

  • Employment skills and training of the spouse seeking support.

  • Work experience of the spouse seeking support.

  • Financial requirements and resources of each spouse.

  • Tax consequences of each spouse.

  • Child custody and support responsibilities of the of spouse seeking support.

  • Any other relevant factors.

OR child Custody and Support

The court will develop a parenting plan keeping the best interests of the child in mind that ensures that the non-custodial parent has adequate access to the child if your spouse and you are not able to develop a parenting plan or if one of you request the court to develop a plan. The court will consider the following factors to determine the best interests of the child:

  • Interest of both spouses in the child and their attitude towards the child.

  • If the parties desire to continue the existing relationship.

  • Emotional relationship between the child and other members of the family.

  • Abuse of one spouse by the other.

  • Preference of the child’s primary caregiver.

  • Ability and willingness of each of the parents to encourage and facilitate the close relationship between the child and the other parent.

The child support will end if a minor child gets married or becomes self-supporting, emancipated or stops attending school when he/she becomes 18 years old. The parent must pay support even if he/she does not have visitation rights and even if you’re not receiving child support, you are required to comply with the visitation orders of the court. Any violation of the orders pertaining to child support is punishable by imprisonment, fine or some other penalty.

Step 6: Finalizing your Oregon divorce

Once the “respondent” spouse files an appearance, then both parties must exchange their financial information such as income records, tax returns, bank account details, investment information, etc. and this process is known as “discovery”. If the court finds that a spouse has not shared information properly, then it can order the spouse to pay the legal fees of the other spouse.

If your spouse and you are able to agree on all the issues pertaining to your divorce, then you can get a divorce judgment quickly. If either party contests any issue, then the case will go to trial and wait for judgment can be quite long.

Many cases may need temporary relief while the case is pending in court such as temporary alimony, child support, etc. The court may enter temporary orders after a short hearing and these orders are usually effective either until they are modified or till the final dissolution judgment is passed by the court.

If either your spouse or you dispute custody or visitation, then you may have to seek mediation or evaluation by child custody experts. You can also seek evaluation of each other and your children by your own partisan experts. You may also employ experts to appraise your businesses and property.

The judge will hold a trial or hearings where both spouses must present their testimony and evidence. The judge will then sign the judgment for the dissolution of marriage which terminates your marriage legally.