Going through a divorce is an overwhelming ordeal, no matter the circumstances. Whether you were the one who decided to end the marriage or it was your spouse, you should be well-prepared to make this transition as smooth as possible.
Let’s consider the peculiarities of the Oregon divorce process to plan it wisely.
Straightforward Guide to Oregon Divorce
Generally, divorces can be filed as “fault or no-fault,” and either of these can be contested or uncontested.
However, Oregon Revised Statutes have eliminated any fault-based grounds for divorce. It means that the dissolution of a marriage does not require showing wrongdoing by either spouse (like cruel treatment, adultery, abandonment, drug abuse, and more).
Currently, Oregon Family Law provides only one legal ground for getting a divorce: “irreconcilable differences between the parties have caused the irremediable breakdown of the marriage.”
At the same time, the right to contest the case is entirely at the parties’ discretion. So, in Oregon, divorces can be contested or uncontested, depending on whether the spouses can agree on all significant issues.
A contested divorce occurs when the spouses fail to agree on at least one of their divorce-related issues out of court. Therefore, they proceed through the divorce process until they reach an agreement or a judge makes a final decision for them.
A contested divorce process usually involves multiple court hearings, so the assistance of an experienced lawyer would be necessary.
Given the above, contested divorces take significantly more time and legal expenses.
In an uncontested divorce, the spouses negotiate property division, alimony, child custody and support, and other terms of their divorce peacefully.
The spouses commemorate the terms of their agreement in a written Marital Settlement Agreement submitted to the court. Then, instead of litigation, the judge needs only to review and approve this contract to issue a divorce decree.
Typically, uncontested divorces are relatively quick and affordable. The spouses can use alternative dispute resolution methods to facilitate a voluntary settlement and, in some cases, attempt a DIY divorce without an attorney.
Besides, they may complete much of the divorce papers themselves or use inexpensive internet divorce companies.
Summary dissolution is an expedited type of uncontested divorce provided by Oregon law. The spouses can start this procedure as co-petitioners and finalize a divorce in under a month (Oregon does not have a mandatory waiting period) without appearing in court.
To qualify for summary dissolution, a couple must meet all of the following requirements:
- Either or both spouses are Oregon residents and have been continuously for the past six months;
- The spouses do not have minor children together, and the wife is not pregnant;
- The spouses have been married ten years or less;
- The personal property owned by the spouses (separately or jointly) is worth less than $30,000;
- The debts owed by the spouses (separately or jointly) since the date of the marriage are not more than $15,000;
- Neither party is asking for spousal support;
- Neither spouse owns any real property in Oregon or elsewhere;
- Neither spouse is asking for any temporary orders;
- The spouses don’t have any domestic relations suits involving the marriage pending in Oregon or other states.
To sum it all up, as a more straightforward procedure than traditional litigation, an amicable uncontested divorce provides the couple with more flexibility and potential benefits.
Filing the Divorce Papers
Filing for divorce is preceded by selecting and filling out all the necessary legal forms, which vary depending on the state, county, and, of course, the unique circumstances of a particular couple.
This stage of preparing for divorce is crucial and should be handled responsibly, as a single mistake in paperwork can cause delays even in the simplest divorce case.
The spouses filing for an uncontested divorce can deal with paperwork issues in several ways:
- Hire a divorce attorney who offers a flat fee for uncontested cases (from $3,000 on average in Oregon law firms);
- Go to the Circuit Court Clerk’s office and ask for an uncontested divorce packet or visit Oregon Judicial Department’s website (the forms are free, but in that case, you’ll need to complete them independently);
- Use a web divorce service that allows completing all the divorce documents following step-by-step instructions (from $139).
The latter option is now the most popular among couples who do not contest the case. It allows lowering the cost of divorce and avoiding the risks and pitfalls of a “do-it-yourself” approach. So, let’s consider how online divorce works in more detail.
Preparing for Divorce Over the Internet
What is online divorce? Unlike law firms, online divorce companies cannot give legal advice, and unlike e-filing providers, they do not allow you to file an application for divorce online. Instead, these websites specialize in paperwork, and their services are available for all couples seeking an uncontested divorce.
The main benefit of online divorce is that it allows getting all the required divorce documents completed from the comfort of your home.
The user only needs to follow an online questionnaire, providing their case details. Then, based on these answers, the system will select the relevant Oregon uncontested divorce forms and help fill them out correctly.
The forms are typically available within two business days, and all the customer has to do is print them, sign them, and file them with the Circuit Court Clerk’s office at the local county courthouse.
The best online divorce services guarantee court approval and include step-by-step filing instructions customized for a particular county.
And that’s all! There is no need to overpay and depend on the lawyer’s working hours or grapple with paperwork on your own.
Online divorce is a fast and straightforward way to work with divorce documents whenever and wherever you want, moving at your own pace.
The first steps when preparing for divorce are the most important as they affect the whole process, including the potential duration of your divorce and its cost.
Did you manage to reach an agreement? Are you a petitioner or respondent, or maybe, you and your spouse are ready to apply for divorce jointly and get a summary dissolution?
The general principle is the more peaceful your separation, the easier the procedure is. When the spouses avoid litigation, they have more freedom in planning and managing their divorce to choose the most beneficial options.