We often field questions from people asking how to divorce in Oregon.
Filing for divorce sounds like a harrowing, dramatic undertaking. And it usually gets complicated. Ending a marriage usually becomes a long, intricate process.
There are hearings, mediation, meetings with attorneys, arbitration, custody disputes, division of property, and more. And then you have the divorce forms to contend with.
How to Divorce In Oregon
On a basic level, how to divorce in Oregon isn’t nearly as complicated as many assume. It is a process to be sure, but the steps are relatively straightforward. Still, being as prepared as possible will only benefit your case.
It never hurts to familiarize yourself with the stages before hand and know what lies ahead.
With that in mind, here’s an overview of the process and a look at the divorce forms you may encounter.
Fill Out The Divorce Forms
Like with any process, there is the moment when it begins.
In the case of divorce, that is when one spouse completes and files the Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage.
Five pages long, the Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage lays out all the pertinent facts about the case.
Though the underlying reasons for this are likely complicated, as far as ending your marriage goes, this first step is relatively simple.
On this form, you provide all of the pertinent information for both you and your spouse. This includes:
- Where you live.
- The date of your marriage.
- The length of your marriage.
- Each party’s current living situation.
You also answer other relevant questions. Depending on the situation, this includes information about:
- Child custody/guardianship.
- Child Support.
- Spousal support.
You must also disclose any shared assets and debts at this juncture.
Related Reading: 9 Common Mediation Questions Answered
Forms For Two Types Of Divorce
In Oregon, there are two types of dissolution. Which type is appropriate for your case depends on the specifics of your situation and the complexity of your marriage. This also impacts the forms you need to fill out and submit.
Oregon is a no-fault divorce state, so there’s no need or space to assign blame for the end of the marriage.
Relatively simple, straightforward marriages often qualify for summary dissolution. This allows you to end your marriage without the cost and hold up inherent in court hearings.
Summary dissolution may be an option if:
- You’ve been married less than ten years.
- There are no minor children or adult children still in high school.
- You have little or no shared property to divide.
- Personal property totals less than $30,000 in value.
- Total joint debt comes to less than $15,000.
- Both parties give up claims to spousal support.
If you meet these conditions, you may qualify for a summary dissolution. There are a number of forms to fill out if you go this route.
If your case does not meet the requirements for summary dissolution, you will have to follow a more traditional path and file to divorce in Oregon. What you need to file varies depending on the circumstances.
Couples without children need to fill out the following forms:
Things are different when children are involved in the process. Custody disputes often become heated and contentious, and the divorce forms also vary as well.
With minor children in play, in addition to the standard divorce forms, you must fill out others that layout support payments, child custody, visitation, and more.
File The Forms With The Court
In order to file for divorce in Oregon, you must meet the state’s residency requirement. It varies state to state, but Oregon requires you to live within its borders for a minimum of six months.
If you married in the state and one spouse still lives there, you can also file for divorce in Oregon. However, the petitioning spouse must submit a certificate of residency confirming one of you still lives there.
When it comes to which county to submit to, you have two choices.
- You can file for divorce in the county in which you reside.
- Or you opt for the county where your spouse lives.
There’s no need to file in the county where you initially married. There is, however, a fee attached to file for divorce in Oregon.
Related Reading: Jurisdiction And Divorce: Where You File Matters
Serve Your Spouse
Once you file the appropriate forms with the appropriate court, the next step to divorce in Oregon is serving your spouse. This make your intentions known. In most cases, this is accomplished by hiring an outside process server.
However, if you enlist a divorce attorney, he or she generally also handles this step. In uncontested divorces, your spouse only needs to sign the Acceptance of Service to acknowledge delivery.
The non-filing spouse signs the Acceptance of Service form. This states that they received the papers. After service, it’s the responsibility of the petitioner to submit the signed acceptance to the court. The case can’t move forward until your spouse has all the paperwork in hand.
Just like there is the Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage, there is also a Response to the Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage. If the person served—also known as the respondent—doesn’t agree with all of the requests on the Petition, that individual then files a response. This document lists all of the objections and any counter requests.
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Complete Financial Disclosures
In Oregon, the courts require both parties to hand over complete financial disclosures.
This means each must provide a comprehensive list of all assets, as well as all debts. Failure to follow these rules may result in substantial fines and other monetary penalties.
When it comes to the division of property, Oregon is an equitable distribution state. Where community property states view all assets and debts accumulated during a marriage as the equal property of both spouses, equitable distribution considers it as belonging to whoever acquired it.
No specific formula for divvying up property exists, but the court does its best to split any shared assets or obligations in a fair and equitable fashion.
Related Reading: How Is Debt Divided In Divorce?
Sign And File Documents
By this point, you’ve actually accomplished filing for divorce. Which is really just the start. Now you have to go through the divorce process.
In the case of uncontested divorces, things can and often do progress smoothly. Under ideal circumstances, when both sides agree on the issues, it involves little more than signing and filing a handful of forms.
Signing and filing the final documents is precisely what it sounds like. There are forms to fill out regarding the division of property, child custody, any support, visitation, and whatever other specifics your case involves.
Once both sides reach a final agreement, the court examines the paperwork. If everything is in order, the judge signs off and your divorce becomes official.
In the case of contested divorces, things become more difficult.
As friction increases, so do the complications. You often have to sit down and go through mediation or arbitration to reach an agreement. And if neither of those strategies works, you may be destined to go to trial and the court will decide for you.
All of these additional hurdles add time, stress, and money to the divorce process.
Especially if things get heated and contentious, you may want to retain counsel. An experienced divorce attorney guides you through the legal system towards an optimal outcome.
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Finalizing Divorce in Oregon
As they lay out the concrete terms of your split, these finale documents are some of the most vital divorce forms.
At the top of this list is the General Judgement of Dissolution. Why is this so important? This is the big boss, be-all end-all of your divorce in Oregon.
This spells out all of the terms and agreements in explicit detail. Child custody, child support, spousal support, debt division, and all the other issues you’ve fought for through the process.
A judge signs the General Judgement and you and your spouse are legally bound. Because of that, it’s critical to make sure this document is prepared correctly, everything agreed upon appears in writing, and that there are no errors. If you ever have questions in the future, you refer to this document first.
Related Reading: Should I File for Divorce First?
Troubleshooting the Divorce Forms
- Make sure that you have the most current versions of the appropriate divorce forms.
- Fill them all out clearly and completely — take your time, use your best penmanship.
- Sign the divorce forms in the appropriate places.
- Double-check that they are complete and be sure to keep copies for your own personal records.
Divorce has such a huge impact on your life, it’s vital to take the time to make sure you do everything right.
Related Reading: Divorce or Legal Separation: Similarities and Differences