Oregon Divorce Law

Amy Pennza
House, gavel and law book

Couples who wish to end their marriage in Oregon can choose from traditional divorce or an expedited form of divorce called "Summary Dissolution." In Oregon, all divorces are referred to as "dissolution of marriage."

Residency Requirement

To file for divorce in Oregon, couples must meet one of the following requirements for residency:

  • The couple were married in the state and at least one person is living in Oregon
  • The person filing for divorce has lived in the state for at least six months before filing the divorce papers

The divorce papers must be filed in the county where the petitioner (the person asking the court to grant a divorce) lives.

Grounds for Divorce

Oregon law permits "no-fault" divorce only. In a no-fault action, the parties do not allege any sort of misconduct. Rather, they site "irreconcilable differences that have caused the irremediable breakdown of the marriage," as the reason for the divorce.

How to File

To begin your case, you must file the appropriate forms with the court. Oregon allows both traditional dissolution of marriage and a short form of dissolution called "summary dissolution."

Dissolution of Marriage

Oregon makes it easy for spouses to dissolve their marriages by providing a do-it-yourself packet that you can download online. There are two separate packets, one for couples who have children and one for couples who do not have children.

Summary Divorce

Parties who satisfy certain criteria can file for an expedited form of divorce called a Summary Dissolution. This type of dissolution allows spouses to end their marriage without making a court appearance. Summary dissolution is available to parties who meet the following requirements:

  • One or both spouses have lived in Oregon for the past six months
  • The parties have been married 10 years or less
  • The parties have no minor children together, either biological or adopted
  • The parties have no children together who are 18 or older and currently attending school
  • The wife is not currently pregnant
  • Neither party owns any interest in real estate in any state
  • The parties own less than $30,000 in personal property, whether separate or joint
  • Their debts are no more than $15,000, whether separate or joint
  • Both parties waive the right to receive spousal support
  • Neither spouse is requesting temporary orders
  • There are no divorce, separation, or annulment actions pending in any other state
  • Both spouses agree on all matters of asset and debt division

Filing Procedures for Summary Dissolution

Couples who satisfy these requirements can either file their forms in person or mail them to the court. Oregon courts also have a do-it-yourself packet for this type of divorce.

Property Division

Oregon is an equitable distribution state. Courts in Oregon divide property in a manner that is "just and proper in all the circumstances." The court takes a variety of factors into consideration:

  • Which property is separate vs which property is marital
  • Each spouse's financial contribution
  • A spouse's contribution as the homemaker
  • Costs of the sale of assets, taxes or other reasonable costs

Courts do not consider spousal conduct when dividing property.

Alimony

Under Oregon law, there are three possible types of alimony.

Transitional support

The judge considers how much support is needed to help the recipient spouse in reentering the work force. The money can be used for education or training. Courts consider the following factors when determining whether to award transitional support:

  • Length of marriage
  • A spouse's education and work skills
  • A spouse's job experience
  • The economic needs of each side
  • The tax consequences
  • The spouses' child support and custody responsibilities

Compensatory support

The judge awards alimony that reimburses a spouse for assisting the support-paying spouse with obtaining an education or increased earning ability. Courts award compensatory support based on the following:

  • The amount and duration of the spouse's contribution
  • Length of the marriage
  • The earning abilities of both sides
  • If the marital estate improved due to the contribution
  • Tax consequences

Spousal maintenance

The judge awards alimony designed to help the recipient spouse maintain the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage. Courts award spousal maintenance based on the following:

  • Length of marriage
  • Parties' ages
  • Health of parties
  • Standard of living during the marriage
  • Income and earning ability of both sides
  • The spouses' employability
  • Work experience
  • Financial needs
  • Tax consequences
  • Custodial and child support obligations

Child Custody and Support

For many divorcing couples, child-related issues make a case more intense. Courts in Oregon must decide how to award custody and how much child support the child should receive.

Child Custody

When deciding how to award custody, Oregon courts consider the following factors:

  • The emotional connection between the child and family members
  • The parents' interests and attitude toward the child
  • Whether it is desirable to maintain an existing relationship
  • Spousal abuse
  • The primary caregiver's wishes
  • The parents' willingness to encourage the child to have a relationship with the other

Child Support

Child support is awarded according to state guidelines. Parents can get an idea of their child support obligation by using the child support calculator published by the Oregon Child Support Program.

Beginning Your Case

If you are facing divorce in Oregon, you have choices. Parties who can work out their differences with minimal disputes can avoid the headache of a prolonged case by using Summary Dissolution. Whatever you decide, it is best to speak with an attorney before filing your case.

Oregon Divorce Law