How To File For Divorce In Oregon
Every divorce starts and ends in almost the same exact way:
- Divorce papers are filed and served
- Agreements are reached, or the parties go to trial
- A divorce agreement (Judgment) is drafted and filed
The most important issue with proceeding through the divorce process is not necessarily knowing all the steps which need to be completed, it is knowing how to complete the steps in a way that protects you and solves your problems. There are various topics we can address with you to help determine how to best complete the above process.
Contested or Uncontested?
In a consultation, the first determination we would make is whether your divorce is going to be contested or uncontested.
An uncontested divorce is where you and your spouse agree on every aspect of the divorce process. This means you can not have ANY disagreements regarding division of property (homes, vehicles, retirement, debt, etc.), custody and parenting time (who is taking sole custody vs. whether you are sharing joint custody), and spousal or child support.
This is not an exhaustive list – the issue is whether or not a dispute will arise regarding any aspect of the divorce. Uncontested divorces can be handled quickly and inexpensively. Ask us about this first, if you think this is a possibility.
If there is going to be a dispute regarding any aspect of the divorce, the divorce papers you file must address these disputes. If you do not ask for what you want in the divorce papers, a court can not grant you anything. Do not make the mistake of filing divorce papers that limit what a judge can do for you.
Divorce with Children?
The second determination we would make is whether this is a divorce with children.
If there are children, the issue of custody and support should be addressed. Custody disputes generally involve three major issues:
- Which parent takes sole custody or whether the parents will share joint custody.
- Which parent receives child support and provides health care coverage.
- The amount of parenting time awarded to each parent.
Prior to filing for divorce, you must know how you want the court to address these issues. Every parenting situation is different, and the laws regarding these issues can be complex and overwhelming. This is why having an attorney advise you on how to proceed is important. You want to make sure the court makes a custody determination that is in the best interest of your children. We can assist you with these issues at a consultation .
What type of Property and Debt Exists?
The third determination we would make is what type of property and debt divisions are appropriate.
It is extremely important that you are aware of what assets and debts exist within your marriage. This includes everything from homes, retirement accounts, and inheritance to credit card debt and mortgage loans. You must propose how you want these assets and debts divided when you file for divorce. Once the court makes an award regarding property, this award is generally final. It is vital that you ensure all property is divided correctly the first time because you may not have a second chance.
Is a Spousal Support Award Appropriate?
Spousal support may or may not be appropriate in your case. A spousal support award is determined by examining the income of the parties, the length of marriage, and a number of additional factors. A spouse can ask for three types of spousal support:
- Transitional support.
- Compensatory support.
- Maintenance support.
The Papers Are Filed — Now What?
The first step after filing your dissolution paperwork is to have your spouse served with this paperwork.
Service of Divorce Paperwork
Service means delivery. There are specific rules under Oregon Law that govern how your divorce papers can be served (delivered) to your spouse. You may elect to use an adult friend, a process server or a sheriff to complete service.
Making sure that your spouse is properly served is extremely important. The clock on your divorce action does not start ticking until your spouse is officially served. Certain limitations under Oregon Law on how a spouse can spend money or alter insurance policies do not go into effect until service is complete. We have process servers that we regularly work with to ensure service is completed quickly and properly.
My Spouse Has Already Been Served — I Need Help
There is no single formula that determines how to best proceed forward in a divorce. There are simply too many issues at hand, including custody, parenting time, child support, property division, spousal support, etc.
The best first step is to map out every issue at hand, and make a list of exactly what you want for each of these issues.
- What property do you want?
- What parenting time agreement do you want?
- How much support do you need?
Answering questions like those above will help you understand what it is you are fighting for. If you don’t know what you want, you are flying blind. You must spend time thinking about these issues.
The best next step is to determine whether you can work with your spouse toward reaching agreements that you are both comfortable with. If this is a possibility — it is absoultely one worth exploring.
Request Temporary Orders
Filing for divorce may lead to immediate problems that need immediate answers. What if the other party stops depositing their paycheck into a joint account? What if you can’t live in the same household peacefully? What if you need the other spouse to assist you financially?
You can request temporary orders from the court to address all of these issues. It is important that you schedule a temporary orders hearing as soon as possible after filing of the divorce paperwork if one of the above issues is a concern.
Served with papers? 30 Days or Less…
After you are served with divorce paperwork, you have 30 days to file a response. If you do not file a response, you risk allowing your spouse to file for a default judgment. A default judgment can grant your spouse everything they requested in their petition for divorce. Speak with us on how to delay a default judgment.
How Do I Respond To The Divorce Papers?
Responding to a divorce filing is, in many ways, no different than filing the paperwork to start the process.
Know exactly what it is that you want in respect to every issue that is going to be addressed in the divorce.
Once you know what you want, call us so we can help you map out a strategy on how to get what you want. We will protect you through this process and do our best to drive this to a resolution you are happy with.
Let Us Help Protect You
We help people navigate the divorce path every single day. We do it in a way that helps drive them to resolutions they are happy with. Preparation is key in this process, and we help people prepare for these exact situations. Our number one goal is to help you get what you want, and to do it in a way that resolves things peacefully if possible — or otherwise vigorously protect you.
Please schedule a consultation to get your questions answered.