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Oregon Divorce Laws
Residency and Filing Requirements:In order to file for a dissolution of marriage in Oregon, residency requirements must be met for the court to accept the case. If the court discovers it does not have jurisdictional rights to hear the case it will not be accepted or it will eventually be dismissed. The requirements are as follows:
The parties may file for a dissolution of marriage in Oregon if: The marriage took place in the state and either party is a resident of or domiciled in the state or at least one party must be a resident of or be domiciled in this state at the time the suit is commenced and continuously for a period of six months prior thereto.
A petition for marital annulment, dissolution or separation may be filed only in a county in which the petitioner or respondent resides. (Oregon Statutes - Volume 2 - Sections: 14.070, 107.065, 107.075)
Grounds for Filing:The Petition for Dissolution of Marriage must declare the appropriate Oregon grounds upon which the dissolution of marriage is being sought. The appropriate lawful ground will be that which the parties agree upon and can substantiate, or that which the filing spouse desires to prove to the court. The dissolution of marriage grounds are as follows:
A judgment for the dissolution of a marriage or a permanent or unlimited separation may be rendered when
(1) Irreconcilable differences between the parties have caused the irremediable breakdown of the marriage.
(1) When either party to the marriage was incapable of making such contract or consenting thereto for want of legal age or sufficient understanding; (2) When the consent of either party was obtained by force or fraud;
A trial or hearing on the merits in a suit for the dissolution of a marriage shall be had until after the expiration of 90 days from the date of the service of the summons and petition upon the respondent. (Oregon Statutes - Volume 2 - Sections: 107.025, 107.036, 107.015)
Filing Spouse Title:Petitioner. The Petitioner is the spouse who initiates the filing procedure with the family law or domestic relations court. The filing spouse can also be titled the Co-Petitioner is filing jointly.
Non-Filing Spouse Title:Respondent. The Respondent is the spouse who does not file the initial dissolution of marriage papers, but rather receives them by service. The non-filing spouse can also be titled the Co-Petitioner is filing jointly.
Court Name:In the Circuit Court for the State of Oregon for the County of __________. This is the Oregon court where the dissolution of marriage will be filed. The court will assign a case number and have jurisdictional rights to facilitate and grant the orders concerning, but not limited to: property and debt division, support, custody, and visitation. The name of the court is clearly represented at the top of all documents that are filed.
Primary Documents:Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and Decree of Dissolution of Marriage. These are the essential documents needed to start and finalize a dissolution of marriage according to Oregon law. There are anywhere from ten to twenty other documents that may be required throughout the filing process. A few other documents that are typically filed during the process are: Marital Settlement Agreement, Notice of Statutory Restraining Order Preventing Dissipation of Assets, Motion for Waiver of 90 Day Waiting Period, and Affidavit Supporting Stipulated Judgment of Dissolution.
Court Clerk's Title:Office of the Clerk of the County Circuit Court. The clerk or the clerk's assistants will be the people managing your paperwork with the court. The clerk's office will keep the parties and the lawyers informed throughout the process in regards to additional paperwork that is needed, further requirements, and hearing dates and times.
Property Distribution:Since Oregon is an "equitable distribution" state, the marital property shall be divided in an equitable fashion. Equitable does not mean equal, but rather what is fair. The court will encourage the parties to reach a settlement on property and debt issues otherwise the court will declare the property award.
In dividing, awarding and distributing the real and personal property (or both) of the parties (or either of them) between the parties, or in making such property or any of it subject to a trust, and in fixing the amount and duration of the contribution one party is to make to the support of the other, the court shall not consider the fault, if any, of either of the parties in causing grounds for the annulment or dissolution of the marriage or for separation.
For the division or other disposition between the parties of the real or personal property, or both, of either or both of the parties as may be just and proper in all the circumstances. A retirement plan or pension or an interest therein shall be considered as property. The court shall consider the contribution of a spouse as a homemaker as a contribution to the acquisition of marital assets. There is a rebuttable presumption that both spouses have contributed equally to the acquisition of property during the marriage, whether such property is jointly or separately held. (Oregon Statutes - Volume 2 - Sections: 107.036, 107.105)
Restoration or Name Change:The name of either spouse to a name the spouse held before the marriage. The court shall order a change if it is requested by the affected party. (Oregon Statutes - Volume 2 - Sections: 107.105)
Spousal Support:Not all cases involve support from one spouse to the other. The obligation of one spouse to support the other financially for a temporary or permanent basis is decided on a case-by-case basis as agreed to by the parties or at the court's discretion.
Transitional spousal support as needed for a party to attain education and training necessary to allow the party to prepare for reentry into the job market or for advancement therein. The factors to be considered by the court in awarding transitional spousal support include but are not limited to: (i) The duration of the marriage; (ii) A party's training and employment skills; (iii) A party's work experience; (iv) The financial needs and resources of each party; (v) The tax consequences to each party; (vi) A party's custodial and child support responsibilities; and (vii) Any other factors the court deems just and equitable.
Compensatory spousal support when there has been a significant financial or other contribution by one party to the education, training, vocational skills, career or earning capacity of the other party and when an order for compensatory spousal support is otherwise just and equitable in all of the circumstances. The factors to be considered by the court in awarding compensatory spousal support include but are not limited to: (i) The amount, duration and nature of the contribution; (ii) The duration of the marriage; (iii) The relative earning capacity of the parties; (iv) The extent to which the marital estate has already benefited from the contribution; (v) The tax consequences to each party; and (vi) Any other factors the court deems just and equitable.
Spousal maintenance as a contribution by one spouse to the support of the other for either a specified or an indefinite period. The factors to be considered by the court in awarding spousal maintenance include but are not limited to: (i) The duration of the marriage; (ii) The age of the parties; (iii) The health of the parties, including their physical, mental and emotional condition; (iv) The standard of living established during the marriage; (v) The relative income and earning capacity of the parties, recognizing that the wage earner's continuing income may be a basis for support distinct from the income that the supported spouse may receive from the distribution of marital property; (vi) A party's training and employment skills; (vii) A party's work experience; (viii) The financial needs and resources of each party; (ix) The tax consequences to each party; (x) A party's custodial and child support responsibilities; and (xi) Any other factors the court deems just and equitable. (Oregon Statutes - Volume 2 - Sections: 107.036, 107.105, 107.412)
Counseling or Mediation Requirements:Whenever any domestic relations suit is commenced in a circuit court exercising conciliation jurisdiction and providing conciliation services, the court may, in its discretion, exercise conciliation jurisdiction over the controversy and over the parties thereto and all persons having any relation to the controversy. If, within 45 days after the court commences to exercise conciliation jurisdiction, a reconciliation or a settlement of the controversy has not been effected, the domestic relations suit shall proceed as if the court had not exercised conciliation jurisdiction. (Oregon Statutes - Volume 2 - Sections: 107.179, 107.540, 107.550)
Child Custody:When minor children are involved in a dissolution of marriage, the Oregon courts will do everything possible to help lessen the emotional trauma the children may be experiencing. If the parents cannot come to an agreement regarding the issues involving the children, the court will establish the custody order at its discretion.
A general parenting plan may include a general outline of how parental responsibilities and parenting time will be shared and may allow the parents to develop a more detailed agreement on an informal basis. However, a general parenting plan must set forth the minimum amount of parenting time and access a noncustodial parent is entitled to have.
A detailed parenting plan may include, but need not be limited to, provisions relating to: (a) Residential schedule; (b) Holiday, birthday and vacation planning; (c) Weekends, including holidays, and school in-service days preceding or following weekends; (d) Decision-making and responsibility; (e) Information sharing and access; (f) Relocation of parents; (g) Telephone access; (h) Transportation; and (i) Methods for resolving disputes.
In determining custody of a minor child under ORS 107.105 or 107.135, the court shall give primary consideration to the best interests and welfare of the child. In determining the best interests and welfare of the child, the court shall consider the following relevant factors: (a) The emotional ties between the child and other family members; (b) The interest of the parties in and attitude toward the child; (c) The desirability of continuing an existing relationship; (d) The abuse of one parent by the other; (e) The preference for the primary caregiver of the child, if the caregiver is deemed fit by the court; and (f) The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child. However, the court may not consider such willingness and ability if one parent shows that the other parent has sexually assaulted or engaged in a pattern of behavior of abuse against the parent or a child and that a continuing relationship with the other parent will endanger the health or safety of either parent or the child. (Oregon Statutes - Volume 2 - Sections: 107.105, 107.137, 107.169)
Child Support:Oregon child support guidelines are based on the Income Shares Model for calculating child support. The monthly support amount determined by applying the guidelines is divided proportionally according to each parent's income. These two support amounts are then offset to establish which parent will pay the other parent for support of the child. All income is typically verified by examining past W-2's and child support worksheets are available at the courthouse.
The terms of child support and parenting time (visitation) are designed for the child's benefit and not the parents' benefit. You must pay support even if you are not receiving visitation. You must comply with visitation orders even if you are not receiving child support. Violation of child support orders and visitation orders is punishable by fine, imprisonment or other penalties.
When the court issues a child support obligation it may also require the obligor (paying parent) to have a life insurance policy with the children as the beneficiaries to ensure future support.
When the court determines the appropriate support amount it will use the current state child support guidelines and also consider the following factors: the opportunity each parent has to borrow funds; the earning capacity of each parent; the income history of each parent; the overall needs of the child; the needs of any other dependents; and any other relevant factors. (Oregon Statutes - Volume 2 - Sections: 107.105, 107.106, 107.820)
Copyright Notice: The above synopsis of Oregon divorce laws is original material which is owned and copyrighted by Divorce Source, Inc. This material has been adapted from applicable state laws and unauthorized reproduction is prohibited. Violation of this notice will result in immediate legal action.
The Oregon court grants a no-fault divorce, or one person can allege fault to end the marriage. A couple must either agree to the reason for the divorce, such as the marriage has irretrievably broken down due to irreconcilable differences, or prove to the court that the divorce should be granted because one party was under-age or lacked the mental capacity to understand marriage, or consent was obtained either by force or fraud.
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"A Plain English Guide to Protecting Your Children"
Author: Mary L. Boland, Attorney at Law
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