It's normal to have a lot of questions when you're facing divorce. Fortunately, divorce in Oregon is a relatively straightforward procedure. Known as "dissolution of marriage," the Oregon divorce process allows you to file on your own or jointly with your spouse, as "co-petitioners." The state also recognizes domestic partnerships, which follow the same dissolution procedures as traditional marriages. This article provides an overview of all the information you need to start your case.
Oregon is a pure no-fault divorce state. This means there is no option to file a fault-based complaint. Many people prefer this no-fault method of divorce, as it allows the parties to end their marriage without raising potentially embarrassing facts or allegations. Rather than bring up any accusations of wrongdoing, the filing spouse simply states that the parties have "irreconcilable differences." In Oregon, you don't need the other person to agree that the marriage is beyond saving. The court will dissolve your marriage or domestic partnership regardless of whether the other spouse consents to the divorce.
To file for divorce in Oregon, you must also meet the state's residency requirements. Under state law, at least one party must have lived in Oregon for six months or longer. You can also obtain an Oregon divorce if you were married in the state and at least one spouse currently resides there. If you were married in Oregon, it doesn't matter how long you have lived there as long as you currently make your home within the state. The petitioning spouse must also file a certificate of residency with the court, stating that at least one party currently resides in the filing county.
Oregon domestic relations law provides two types of dissolution. The type you choose depends on the issues surrounding your case and their level of complexity. Oregon also allows same-sex couples to enter into domestic partnerships. While the state does not yet recognize same-sex marriage, domestic partners must follow the same steps as conventional marriages to end their unions in Oregon. You can check the Divorce, Separation, and Annulment section of the Oregon Judicial Branch Website for more detailed information about the types of divorce offered in Oregon and specific forms you may need to prepare your case.
If your marriage or domestic partnership contains limited issues, you can file for a summary divorce. This type of dissolution allows you to end your marriage or domestic partnership without the cost and delay of a court hearing. To qualify for summary dissolution, your case must meet the following standards:
If you qualify for a summary dissolution, you must file the following forms:
If your case doesn't meet the requirements for summary dissolution, you must file for a full-blown dissolution. Oregon law requires the following forms for couples who do not have children:
If you and your spouse or domestic partner have biological or adopted minor children together, you must file the following forms in addition to the standard dissolution forms:
Once you have gathered all the necessary paperwork, you must file it in the appropriate county. You can file where you currently live or where your spouse resides.
Unless you and your spouse file as co-petitioners, you must "serve" the opposing side with copies of the divorce petition and all other documents filed with the court. Oregon allows the non-filing spouse to waive the "service of process" requirement by signing an Acceptance of Service form. As its name suggests, this form simply states that he or she received the documents. The filing spouse is responsible for submitting the signed acceptance with the court.
If your ex refuses to sign the acceptance form, you can achieve service by hiring a private process server or paying a fee for the sheriff to deliver the papers. In relatively rare cases, the court also allows parties to publish a notice in the newspaper to inform the other person that a divorce case has been filed. This "service by publication" option is only available when the respondent's whereabouts are unknown.
Both sides in an Oregon divorce are required to make a complete disclosure of all their assets and debts. Failure to cooperate with state disclosure rules can cause the court to assess fines. The court might also require the non-complying party to pay the other side's attorney's fees.