While there aren’t a lot of steps to getting divorced, there are a lot of details. Each step of the process comes with its own set of challenges and potential bottlenecks that can slow down your divorce. This post will give you a general idea of what to expect through the different steps and help you understand what to anticipate during your divorce.
1. Get answers
The first step in getting a divorce should be to talk to several experienced Oregon divorce lawyers. It is imperative that you understand how your circumstances will affect the outcome of your divorce. A knowledgeable divorce attorney can help guide you through the dissolution of your marriage, help you protect your assets, and safeguard your rights.
It is important to speak with a family law attorney, even if you plan on doing your divorce yourself. They will be able to provide expert advice and make suggestions that will help you navigate the divorce process. Many divorce attorneys will answer questions over the phone for free and offer a special rate on the initial consultation. Take advantage of these opportunities to educate yourself.
2. File Forms
Each court and jurisdiction will have its own set of local rules and procedures—and your unique circumstances will dictate what forms you will need to file. Common forms required in Oregon include Petition for Dissolution of Marriage/Domestic Partnership, Certificate of Residency, Record of Dissolution of Marriage/Domestic Partnership, Summons, Confidential Information Form, Acknowledgment about Dissolution, and Notice of Statutory Restraining Order Preventing Dissipation of Assets.
You can learn more about the forms and filing process by speaking with an attorney or visiting the Oregon Judicial Department’s website.
3. Serve the forms
In Oregon, you can co-petition for the dissolution of marriage (divorce) or one party can petition making the other party the respondent. If you are not co-petitioning, you will need to “serve” the respondent with a copy of the petition.
To serve the respondent you must give them a copy of the Dissolution of Marriage petition. If the respondent refuses to sign and “acceptance of service” then the sheriff or another adult meeting the requirements to serve papers will need to serve the documents. In Oregon, anyone over 18 that is not named in the case can be a process server.
Once the papers have been served a proof of service affidavit will need to be filed with the clerk in the jurisdiction where the case was filed.
4. Finish the Divorce
Once all the paperwork is complete, your divorce will resolve one of three ways: settlement, default, or trial. Depending on how cooperative your ex has been and how contentious the case is, you will find yourself facing one of these options.
A settlement is used when the divorcing couple is able to reach agreements on the division of assets and debts and agree on a parenting plan (if children are involved.) If no agreement can be reached then the divorce will be finalized through a trial.
If your spouse refuses to sign the divorce papers your divorce may be finalized by default. According to Oregon divorce guidelines, a default divorce is a divorce where the other spouse doesn’t sign the forms or papers or participate in the divorce process. The non-responsive spouse defaults on the case and the person filing for the divorce gets whatever was asked for in the original paperwork.
Theses are the 4 basic steps you can expect in an Oregon divorce. But remember, every divorce case is unique—your circumstances and the facts of your case will affect the length and complexity of your divorce process. Your divorce case may require preparation of a Parenting Plan, addressing child support properly, attaching child support worksheets, properly detailing property and debt of the parties and possibly addressing spousal support.
If you would like personalized answers to your divorce questions, please give us a call (503) 731-8888. Our managing attorney, Colin Amos, will provide you answers over the phone at no cost and no obligation.