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Oregon Divorce Laws

divorce decreeHow well you divorce and recover from this process will depend on you becoming familiar with terms such as Oregon child support, child custody, alimony, child visitation, divorce settlement agreements, grounds for divorce, parenting plans, and dissolution in Oregon.

The more you understand the less anxiety you will feel, and the better suited you are for recovery as a single person. Make it a project to know entirely what your options are.

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You will need to become familiar with certain aspects of Oregon divorce law in order to successfully navigate the treacherous waters of becoming single again.

Click on the topics below. They open and close like an accordion

Child Custody - Joint custody, shared custody, sole custody, legal custody

MomOregon courts will make determinations and orders for child custody based on the best interests and welfare of the child. Courts permit parents to attempt to put together a Parenting Plan, Child Custody Schedule or Child Visitation Schedule. Should that effort fail, the court will impose its own plan. in either case, in determining the best interests and welfare of the child, the court will consider the following: custody strategies

  • The emotional ties between the child and other family members,
  • The interest of the parties in and attitude toward the child,
  • The desirability of continuing an existing relationship,
  • The preference for the primary caregiver of the child,
  • The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child.
  • No preference in custody shall be given to the mother over the father for the sole reason that she is the mother, nor will any preference be given to the father over the mother for the sole reason that he is the father

An order or judgment providing for the custody, parenting time, visitation or support of a child will include provisions for:

  • Payment of uninsured medical expenses of the child,
  • Maintenance of insurance or other security for support and
  • Maintenance of a health benefit plan for the child under age 18.

Should the court award sole custody to one parent, the other parent will be entitled to the same rights as the custodial parent to:

  • review and receive school records and to consult with school staff concerning the child's education,
  • have full access to governmental agency and law enforcement records concerning the child,
  • have access to any person providing care or treatment to the child,
  • authorize any medical personnel to care for the child in the absence of the custodial parent.

Oregon divorce laws require that the parents agree to and file a parenting plan; one acceptable to the court. A detailed plan will include:

  • day-to-day schedule for the child,
  • Decision-making and responsibility,
  • Weekends, including holidays, and other days the school may close,
  • Holiday, birthday and vacation planning,
  • Electronic access,
  • Information sharing and access,
  • Relocation of parents,
  • How and when the child gets transported,
  • A means for resolving disputes.

What if the court awards sole custody to one parent? What rights does the other parent have, or put another way, what rights does he/she have with their child?

  • To inspect and receive school records and to consult with school staff concerning the child’s welfare and education, to the same extent as the custodial parent may inspect and receive such records and consult with such staff.
  • To inspect and receive governmental agency and law enforcement records concerning the child to the same extent as the custodial parent may inspect and receive such records,
  • To consult with any person who may provide care or treatment for the child and to inspect and receive the child’s medical, dental and psychological records, to the same extent as the custodial parent may consult with such person and inspect and receive such records,
  • To authorize emergency medical, dental, psychological, psychiatric or other health care for the child if the custodial parent is, for practical purposes, unavailable; or
  • To apply to be the child’s conservator, guardian ad litem or both.

Download Oregon Divorce Forms

[Oregon Statutes - Volume 2 - Sections: 107.105, 107.137, 107.169]

Marriage Annulment - Are you qualified to file for a marriage annulment?

justiceA judicial decree of marriage annulment (sometimes referred to as a marital annulment) cancels the marriage, almost as though it never occurred. Many people incorrectly believe that annulment is available when the marriage is of very short duration or if the parties have not yet consummated the marriage. An annulment is the ending-up of an already void marriage. Under Oregon divorce law you must meet one of the following narrow qualifications in order to be eligible for an annulment:

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  • Fraud or Duress - According to Oregon annulment laws, entering a marriage under duress or threat is a valid annulment ground. The same holds true for fraud or misrepresentation. In these claimed situations, petitions for Oregon annulment will be legal,
  • Mental Illness - When your spouse is mentally ill, be it partially or completely, you can obtain an annulment under Oregon annulment laws,
  • Underage Marriages - Children getting married are grounds for annulment and
  • Physical Infirmity - Unable to consummate the marriage.



[Oregon Statutes - Volume 2 - Sections: 107.005, 107.015]
Child Support - Who pays, when they pay and how much they pay

child supportIn Oregon, the Department of Human Services oversees the child support program. Oregon is one of the states that uses the income shares model of support as outlined in state statutes. Oregon child support is figured on gross income. The court adds the two parents' incomes together and applies that sum to the statute's formula. If your income is more than your spouse's, you will pay a higher percentage toward the overall sum. Need an example? custody strategies

Let's say you make $6,000 per month and your spouse earns $4,000, and the court determines via the guidelines that state law requires you together pay $1,000 per month. Your share will be $600 and your spouse's $400 per month. Either parent may be ordered to pay Oregon child support, based on the following factors: 

  • the ability of each parent to borrow,
  • the parent’s earnings history,
  • the reasonable necessities of each parent,
  • the physical, emotional, and educational needs of the child,
  • the relative financial means of the parents, including their income, resources, and property,
  • the physical, emotional, and educational needs of the child,
  • the relative financial means of the parents, including their income, resources, and property,
  • the potential earnings of the parents,
  • the needs of any other dependents of a parent,
  • The payor(s) may be required to pay through the clerk of the court or by wage withholding. Every child support award must contain a provision for the payment of insurance covered and uncovered medical expenses,
  • The court may hold a hearing to decide the custody issue prior to any other issues. When appropriate, the court will recognize the value of close contact with both parents and encourage joint parental custody and joint responsibility for the welfare of the children,
  • The court may at any time require an accounting from the custodial parent with reference to the use of the money received as child support. The court is not required to order support for any minor child who has become self-supporting, emancipated or married, or who has ceased to attend school after becoming 18 years of age.

Oregon child support laws provide that in cases where a marriage annulment or marital annulment is sought, and there are children of the marriage, that those children be afforded the same rights, protections and parental financial support, including that the children are not considered illegitimate offspring of the parents, that other children of the state receive.


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If a marriage separation (sometimes referred to as a marital separation or legal separation) has been decreed, the court may make such further orders for the support and maintenance of either spouse and for the support, maintenance, and education of minor children, by either spouse, or out of the property of either spouse, as the court deemed appropriate.

The court may order either or both parents to provide child support of an unmarried child, between the ages of 18 and 21, who is a student regularly attending school, community college, college or university, or regularly attending a course of professional or technical training designed to fit the child for gainful employment. The child must be enrolled in an educational course load of at least one-half that determined by the educational facility to constitute 'full-time' enrollment.

A child for whom this educational child support has been ordered:

  • Must maintain the equivalent of a C average or better,
  • Shall notify a parent paying support when the child ceases to be a child attending school,
  • Shall submit all information necessary to establish eligibility to receive support, including grades earned and the courses in which the child is enrolled.

If the child fails to comply with any of these requirements, the educational child support will cease.

[Oregon Statutes - Volume 2 - Sections: 107.105, 107.106, 107.820]

Legal Separation or Marriage Separation - Is it recognized in Oregon?

fightingOregon is a "no-fault" state, which means that a judgment of legal separation (or marital separation) will be granted even if one party doesn't wish to be legally separated. A legal separation would continue your married status and protect your legal, financial, social or religious interests. Legal separation can be granted for a limited or unlimited period of time. A legal separation in Oregon requires the parties to petition the court with the same process as a dissolution (petition, service, etc.). A legal separation is a court order that details who gets the children, who pays support for the children and how much, whether spousal support (alimony) is ordered, and who gets what marital property and debt.

You might want a legal separation if your religious beliefs prohibit divorce, if you or your spouse have not lived in Oregon long enough to file for divorce, or if one of you needs to be covered by the other's medical insurance. A legal separation costs about the same as a divorce. Filing for legal separation does not prevent a divorce from being filed, however. If you are interested in knowing how to file for legal separation, know that it is essentially the same process and forms that filing for dissolution requires, except that you aren't asking the court to end the marriage; just the relationship in all ways including financially. Your local Clerk of Courts can guide you if needed.

Converting your judgment of separation into a judgment of dissolution (divorce):

If within 2 years from the granting of the separation, one of you makes a motion to the court to convert the legal separation into a dissolution, and after a notice is served on the other party no less than 30 days before a hearing, the court may make the conversion. The other party may agree to the conversion in writing, which will not make necessary the hearing, and the judge will decree a dissolution. The conversion does not set aside any provisions of the legal separation.

The judge can set a definite term for the separation, and the separation can expire unless one of the parties make a motion to continue it.


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The main difference between dissolution of marriage and legal separation proceedings is that after a    judgment of separation the parties remain married for all purposes including eligibility for health insurance. A legal separation may be converted to a divorce anytime before the expiration of two years from the entry of a judgment of legal separation with no extra filing fee. A legal separation may be converted to a divorce later than two years after the judgment of legal separation but you will have to pay another court filing fee.

[Oregon Statutes - Volume 2 - Sections: 107.025, 107.106, 107.820]

Divorce Settlement, distribution of assets - How marital property gets divided

marital assetsParties have the option of reaching a divorce settlement of marital assets and debts, and if they are unable or unwilling to, the court will divide them by virtue of Oregon being an equitable distribution state. As such, courts will separate assets brought into (or lawfully segregated) the marriage, and then divide the marital assets equitably although not necessarily evenly.

The court considers the contribution of a spouse as a homemaker as a contribution to the acquisition of marital assets. There is a presumption that both spouses have contributed equally to the acquisition of property during the marriage, whether such property is jointly or separately held. Looking for a rapid divorce process? Do you both want out quickly? It's called a summary dissolution. A marriage may be dissolved by the summary dissolution procedure when all of the following conditions exist at the time the petition was filed:

  • There are no minor children born to the parties or adopted by the parties during the marriage. There are no children over age 18 attending school either born to the parties or adopted by the parties during the marriage. There are no minor children born to or adopted by the parties prior to the marriage,
  • The marriage is not more than 10 years in duration,
  • Neither party has any interest in real property wherever situated,
  • There are no unpaid obligations in excess of $15,000 incurred by either or both of the parties from the date of the marriage,
  • The total aggregate fair market value of personal property assets in which either of the parties has any interest, excluding all encumbrances, is less than $30,000,
  • The petitioner waives any right to spousal support,
  • The petitioner waives any rights to pen dente lite orders,
  • The petitioner knows of no other pending domestic relations suits involving the marriage in this or any other state. 

Reopening your case after the divorce is finalized

The court that entered the final judgment mat re-open the case if one of the parties petitions that significant assets existed at the time of the order (belonging to either or both parties) and were not discovered until after the final order.

If the court finds that the assets were inadvertently omitted from the distribution of the marital estate, the court shall make such distribution of the omitted assets as is just and proper in all the circumstances.

If the court finds that the assets were intentionally concealed and thereby not included in the distribution of the marital estate, the court may order:

  • The division of the appreciated value of the omitted assets,
  • The forfeiture of the omitted assets to the injured party,
  • A compensatory judgment in favor of the injured party,
  • A judgment in favor of the injured party as punitive damages, or
  • Any other distribution as may be just and proper in all the circumstances.

Lock up the assets

If you think your spouse might try to hide assets, or spend them, we suggest you file a petition for a financial temporary restraining order. This order prevents liquidating assets or spending money beyond the basic necessities of daily living. You might first consider allocating enough funds to see yourself through, because the restraining order will apply to you too. good idea

[Oregon Statutes - Volume 2 - Sections: 107.036, 107.105]

Alimony (Spousal Support or Maintenance) - Past court cases (case law) influence a ruling in your case


The court may approve an agreement for the entry of an order for the support (alimony) of a party. In making the spousal support order, the court will designate one or more categories of spousal support and will make findings of the relevant factors in the decision. The court may order:

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:

  • The duration of the marriage,
  • A party’s training and employment skills,
  • A party’s work experience,
  • The financial needs and resources of each party,
  • The tax consequences to each party,
  • A party’s custodial and child support responsibilities, and
  • 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:

  • The amount, duration and nature of the contribution,
  • The relative earning capacity of the parties,
  • The tax consequences to each party, and
  • Any other factors the court deems just and equitable. 


importantWhat if you were to own an entire Child Custody Library on the best strategies for winning child custody? What would that mean to you?


[Oregon Statutes - Volume 2 - Sections: 107.036, 107.105, 107.412]

Visitation (Co-Parenting) - The non-custodial parent receives court-ordered time with the children

new timesParties to a separation or dissolution (divorce) have the ability to craft a Visitation Schedule or a Parenting Plan that addresses both parents' needs. Should there not be an agreement between the parties, the court will impose its own visitation schedule.

In either case, one would expect the following issues resolved in a visitation agreement: alternate weekend visitation (3-day weekends included), mid-week visitation, sharing of the children during periods of school recess -winter, spring and summer, New Year's Eve, Easter, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Thanksgiving, and Christmas with one parent or the other in alternate years, Father's Day with Father, Mother's Day with Mother, alternate years on the children's birthdays, and open communication by phone and computer.

If you and your spouse can agree on a Parenting Schedule, leave nothing to interpretation. Be as specific as you can including the right language in your agreement. How is the decreed custody terminology defined? What are the rights and responsibilities? Who has legal custody? Which holiday does the child spend with you? What time and where may the other parent pick the child up? What time should the child be returned home? What is the procedure to follow if either of you are running late and won't be there on time?

How much notice should you be given if they are planning a vacation? How far away may the other spouse move? What about future partners? Should those partners stay overnight in front of the children?

Be aware that you have to guide your side of the divorce. Don't rely that your attorney will think of everything. You set the course; your lawyer navigates. If you anticipate any problems with custody or visitation, we suggest you own Child Custody Strategies.

[Oregon Statutes - Volume 2 - Sections: 107.169, 107.174, 107.179]

Grounds for Divorce - You must file papers using one of these allowed grounds

cheatingA judgment for the annulment or dissolution of a marriage may be rendered for the following grounds for divorce):

  • When either party marriage was incapable of sufficient understanding or legal age,
  • When the consent of either party was obtained by force or fraud,
  • Irreconcilable differences which have caused an irremediable breakdown of the marriage.

Divorce forms and papers


[Oregon Statutes - Volume 2 - Sections: 107.025, 107.036, 107.015]

Residency - Have you lived in the state long enough to file for divorce?

residencyIf the marriage occurred in this state and either party is a resident of or domiciled in the state at the time the suit is commenced, Oregon divorce laws provide that a suit for annulment or dissolution may be maintained where the ground is alleged to have taken place. When the marriage did not occur in this state or when any ground is alleged, 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 to the filing.


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[Oregon Statutes - Volume 2 - Sections: 14.070, 107.065, 107.075]

Waiting Period - Restrictions on how much time must elapse before proceeding

tetheredWaiting period in dissolution suit; waiver. No trial or hearing on the merits in a suit for the dissolution of a marriage will be had until after the expiration of 90 days from the date of:

  • The service of the summons and petition upon the respondent; or
  • the first publication of summons.

No waiting period exists for those wishing to remarry.


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Mediation - Use a mediator to resolve disagreements before or instead of trial

mediationIn a domestic relations suit, where it appears on the face of one or more pleadings, appearances, petitions or motions, the court may refer the matter for mediation of the contested issues prior to or concurrent with the setting of the matter for hearing. The purpose of the mediation is to assist the parties in reaching a workable settlement of the contested issues instead of litigating those issues before the court. Marriage counseling isn't ordered but should be considered in most cases. 


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[Oregon Statutes - Volume 2 - Sections: 107.179, 107.540, 107.550]

Grandparents Rights - Federal and State Laws permit visitation in many instances

grandmotherGrandparents may petition the court either during or after the divorce proceeding for visitation rights. The courts may consider the following when awarding visitation rights:

  • each party’s interest in and attitude toward the child,
  • desirability of continuing existing relationships; and any abuse of one party by the other.




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[Oregon Statutes - Volume 2 - Section: 109.119]

A Word On Your Journey Toward Healing And Recovery ...

At some point in the process, you may discover that you will not be able to manage the divorce recovery all by yourself. If you are a man, you are apt to bury the hurt and anguish and force yourself to Move On. However, unresolved feelings are just that- unresolved, and are likely to become issues later on. If you are a woman, you will feel the process more, and likely will experience a feeling of loss while feeling lost. We recommend you spend time discovering why things worked out as they did, so that you grow with the new knowledge. We offer a myriad of tools that can get you to the other side. The more you learn, the less you fear. Trust us on this. Spend some time and a few bucks and the return will be ten-fold.

Arm yourself with Child Custody Strategies, begin an on-line Parenting Plan and download Divorce Forms. Begin TODAY.