Get answers to common questions before you file for a divorce in Oregon.
Click on the FAQ questions below for facts related to a divorce in Portland, Salem, Bend, Eugene, or any other city or county in Oregon. Learn how long an Oregon divorce takes, if Oregon is a no-fault state, community property state, and 50/50 custody state, and more.
The question of how to file for divorce in Oregon is really the two following overlapping questions:
- How do we discuss and make the decisions regarding parenting and the division of property and finances? This can be done directly between you and your spouse, with the help of a mediator, by hiring attorneys. Read more detailed options about how to get a divorce in Oregon.
- How do I (we) file the Oregon divorce forms required by the court? The can be done by paying an attorney to file the paperwork, paying a paralegal to file the paperwork, or by filing the divorce forms yourselves (the do-it-yourself divorce in Oregon).
The length of time to get a divorce in Oregon depends upon many factors. It is best to think about your divorce or legal separation in three phases:
- The time required to discuss, negotiate, and reach agreements on all the topics and issues of your divorce. This can take anywhere from a day to a year, depending on the amount of complexity and conflict.
- The time it takes you, your paralegal, or lawyer to complete the court filing forms to be ready to submit it to the court. This usually takes anywhere from a few hours to a week.
- The time it takes your divorce to be approved by the court, once submitted. In Oregon, this is usually anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks.
If you agree on everything beforehand and file as co-petitioners, as most people do in mediation, your divorce will happen more quickly. If either spouse files a separate petition, and the other party files a response, it will move more slowly. If you have minor children, you are also required to complete a Parent Education class prior to filing for a divorce in Oregon.
The current court filing costs for a divorce or legal separation in Oregon are posted here. You may also request a fee waiver if you cannot afford the court filing fees. The complete costs for your divorce process will depend on what, if any, divorce professionals you use to support your decision-making and the writing of your settlement agreement. You may have additional costs required to divide certain types of retirement accounts. For more information, read about the average cost of divorce in Oregon.
You do not need a lawyer to file for divorce in Oregon. You can file yourselves (read the do-it-yourself divorce in Oregon) or with the help of a paralegal, who typically charges $200-$250 to complete the forms for you. If you have children, complicated finances or properties, or conflict about the terms of your divorce or legal separation, you will probably need to work with a Divorce Mediator, or hire Divorce Lawyers to help you negotiate a settlement agreement. Read more about the benefits of divorce mediation.
Yes, Oregon is one of the no fault divorce States. This means you don’t need a reason, or to prove wrongdoing to obtain a divorce. The only reason needed is that you can’t get along and can’t fix your relationship. To put it simply, your spouse does not need agree to get a divorce in Oregon. If one spouse wants it, it will happen.
The no fault divorce state designation also applies to your property division and financial agreements: It is only under rare circumstances where an affair, financial betrayal, or addiction has caused direct financial harm to a spouse that any “fault” or wrongdoing will be considered in the divorce settlement.
In Oregon, a marriage of less than 10 years is considered a short-term marriage, and a marriage of more than 10 years is considered a long-term marriage. This label does not necessarily have any impacts on your divorce settlement. For example, there are many factors a court considers in awarding alimony in Oregon, and the length of the marriage is only one of them.
No, Oregon is not a community property state (which means all assets and debts acquired during a marriage are considered joint, regardless of who acquired it.) Instead, Oregon is an equitable distribution state. While this means that property is generally considered as belonging to the person who owned or acquired it, “equitable distribution” aims for spouses leave a marriage with relatively equal financial circumstances and standard of living. The court also presumes that spouses equally contributed to the marital property, valuing non-monetary contributions such as childcare and homecare.
Regarding the division of property, Oregon is not a 50 50 state when it comes to divorce. In other words, marital property is not automatically divided equally between the spouses. Regarding parenting, a divorce in Oregon does not default or assume you will have joint custody or equal parenting time of your children. These decisions are based on the best interest of the child, in consideration of many factors.
In Oregon, you can divorce without splitting assets. Oregon operates as a “equitable distribution” state, which means that the goal of the divorce is a “fair” and “equitable” distribution of marital assets and debts. If you and your spouse agree to divide things in a way that feels fair to each of you, the court will approve your distribution. Spouses divorcing in Oregon often trade house equity for retirement funds, cash, or taking more of the debt acquired during the marriage.
In Oregon, childcare, home-making, and otherwise supporting your spouse’s career are all considered contributions to your marital assets and debts. With the exception of an extremely short-term marriage, the court expects you to divide your assets and debts in a way that is fair and equitable. This may include spousal support payments, with consideration of each spouse’s income and standard of living at the end of a marriage.
The most common reason that people get a legal separation in Oregon instead of a divorce is to allow somebody to remain on their spouse’s health insurance. This is especially true when purchasing their own health insurance policy will cost several hundred dollars per month. Not all health insurance plans allow for continued spouse coverage after a legal separation. For additional reasons to get a legal separation and information, read Legal Separation in Oregon.
An “amicable divorce” is not a legal term. It essentially means that the divorce in uncontested, and that you and your spouse have come to agreement on all of the settlement terms of your divorce. While it may not have been easy to discuss and negotiate, you have agreed upon the division of your property, assets and debts, custody and parenting time, spousal support and any other issues. With an amicable divorce, you have avoided fighting or having legal or courtroom battles, and, if you have kids, you have set the tone for a positive co-parenting relationship.
No, you don’t have to go to court for an uncontested divorce. Whether you reach agreement on all the terms of your divorce by yourselves, or with the help of a mediator or attorneys, filing your divorce forms with the court does not require you to be physically present or stand in front of a judge.
In Oregon, child support is not determined as a direct percentage. There is a complex calculation that determines the fair amount of child support, which includes your gross average monthly incomes, parenting times (determined by the number of overnights per year), health insurance premiums, childcare expenses, and other factors. The Oregon child support calculator and program is administered by the Oregon Department of Justice Child Support Division.
In Oregon, you are required to utilize the Oregon child support calculator at the time of filing for a divorce. If your incomes, parenting time, childcare or health insurance expenses significantly change after your divorce, you can either recalculate and modify your child support by mutual agreement, or request the Oregon Department of Justice, Child Support Division to recalculate and modify child support for you. They currently provide this service no more than once every 3 years.
You are required to file taxes separately during the tax year in which you were divorced. In other words, if your divorce was finalized (the date the judge signed and stamped your divorce forms) prior to December 31st, you will file separate taxes for that year.
There are no specific rules in place, and this is something that is often negotiated as part of your divorce settlement. To qualify for “Head of Household” filing status, you have to have a dependent more than 50% of the time (even if it’s one extra day). This does not have to correspond with what parent claims the child a dependent (dependency exemption). Claiming a child as a dependent is tied to other tax benefits such as the childcare tax credit.
In the case of 50/50 custody, often parents alternate years for who claims the child on taxes and who files as “head of household.” If you have two children that qualify as dependents, parents frequently agree that each parent can claim one child on their taxes.
If your ex-spouse qualifies, they may receive up to half of the amount of social security benefits that you receive (only the amount that is larger than their own benefit). Some of the qualifications include: the marriage must have been at least 10 years in duration, they must remain unmarried, and it must have been at least two years since the divorce. For more information visit the social security website.
Additional FAQs related to divorce or legal separation in Oregon.
For more Oregon divorce FAQs, visit the Oregon courts website.