Divorce in Oregon: Everything You Need to Know

1 min readLast updated March 26, 2024by Unbiased team

From the different processes you have to go through to how much it’s going to cost, this article takes you through what you need to know about getting a divorce in Oregon.

Summary

  • Oregon’s divorce laws are based on a "no-fault" principle.

  • Opting for an uncontested divorce streamlines the process, often leading to a quicker and less costly resolution.

  • In Oregon, your court charges a fee to file for divorce, generally around $300, but this can vary by county.

  • A financial advisor can help you protect your finances through a divorce and develop a long-term plan to rebuild afterward. 

What are the different types of divorce in Oregon?

Oregon’s divorce laws are based on a "no-fault" principle. 

This means that the reason for the divorce doesn’t need to be one partner's fault. 

Instead, a spouse can cite "irreconcilable differences" as the reason, simplifying the filing process regardless of whether the divorce is contested or uncontested.

Additionally, in Oregon, divorces fall into two main categories: uncontested and contested.

  • In an uncontested divorce, both spouses agree on all major decisions, including asset division, custody, and support. This agreement streamlines the process, often leading to a quicker and less costly resolution.

  • Conversely, a contested divorce arises when spouses cannot find common ground on one or more key issues. These disputes require court intervention, making the process longer and potentially more expensive due to increased legal involvement.

How much does a divorce cost in Oregon?

The cost of a divorce in Oregon varies, depending on whether it's uncontested or contested, the complexity of the case, and the attorneys' fees. 

Here's a breakdown of some of the most common divorce fees you should be aware of:

  • Filing Fees: The court charges a fee to file for divorce, generally around $300, but this can vary by county.

  • Attorney Fees: These can significantly impact the overall cost. For uncontested divorces, fees may range from $1,500 to $3,000. Contested divorces, with their need for more extensive legal services, can push costs much higher, sometimes exceeding $10,000.

  • Additional Costs: Expenses such as mediation, financial advisors, and court appearances for contested divorces can add to the total.

Mediation is always a wise option to manage costs and help save money. Alternatively, a collaborative divorce could be used if both parties are amicable. 

It's also beneficial to gather all necessary financial documents beforehand to minimize the time your attorney needs to prepare your case.

How do you file for divorce in Oregon?

Filing for divorce in Oregon involves several clear steps. 

Here’s a breakdown of how to file for divorce in Oregon: 

  1. Check residency: At least one spouse must have lived in Oregon for six months before filing.

  2. Prepare your forms: Obtain the necessary divorce forms from the Oregon Judicial Department's website or your local courthouse. This includes a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.

  3. File the petition: Submit your completed forms to the county court where you or your spouse live. You’ll need to pay a filing fee at this time.

  4. Serve your spouse: After filing, the law requires you to give your spouse a copy of the divorce papers. This can be done through a sheriff, process server, or, in some cases, by mail if your spouse agrees to accept service.

  5. Wait for a response: Your spouse has 30 days to respond. If they agree to the terms or fail to respond, the process can move forward more smoothly.

  6. Attend hearings: You may need to attend court hearings for contested divorces. In uncontested cases, a judge might finalize the divorce without a hearing based on submitted documents.

  7. Finalize the divorce: Once all issues are resolved, and the waiting period (if applicable) has passed, the court will issue a final divorce decree, legally ending the marriage.

Remember, each divorce case is unique, making it crucial to seek tailored advice for your financial future. 

Consulting with a financial advisor can help you navigate the complexities of divorce and ensure your financial stability during this transitional period.

How do you split assets in a divorce in Oregon?

Oregon divides assets and debts acquired during marriage under the principle of equitable distribution, aiming for fairness rather than an equal split. 

While spouses are encouraged to reach an agreement on asset division through negotiation or mediation, if a deal isn’t possible, the court will decide, ensuring a fair distribution based on the specifics of the marriage.

Courts consider many factors in dividing marital property fairly, such as each spouse's contributions to the marriage, each one's post-divorce economic situation, and the length of the marriage.

The division focuses on assets gained during the marriage. Assets owned before marrying, inherited, or received as gifts are usually considered separate and not divided.

Both parties need to understand the division's principles and seek proper legal guidance to ensure a fair outcome.

How does alimony work in Oregon?

Alimony, also known as spousal support in Oregon, is financial assistance one spouse may be required to provide to the other during or after a divorce. 

Oregon recognizes several types of spousal support: 

  • Transitional: To help a spouse gain employment skills.

  • Compensatory: For significant contributions to the other spouse's education or earning capacity.

  • Maintenance: For long-term support. 

The court considers various factors when deciding on alimony, including the length of the marriage, the financial needs and resources of both parties and each spouse's earning capacity.

The duration of spousal support can vary greatly, from temporary to long-term, based on the length of the marriage and other factors. Alimony can be modified if either party's financial circumstances change significantly. 

It's important to note that for divorces finalized after December 31, 2018, alimony payments are no longer deductible by the payer on federal taxes, nor are they considered taxable income for the recipient.

What happens to children during a divorce in Oregon?

In Oregon, decisions about children during a divorce prioritize their best interests. 

Oregon distinguishes between legal custody (decision-making authority) and physical custody (where the children live). 

Courts encourage joint custody arrangements whenever possible but will determine custody based on factors that ensure the children's well-being.

When deciding custody and parenting time, courts consider the emotional ties between the child and each parent, the parent's ability to care for the child, the child's adjustment to their home, school, and community, and the willingness of each parent to facilitate a relationship between the child and the other parent.

When determining child support, Oregon uses a formula to calculate child support, considering both parents' incomes, the number of children, and other expenses related to the children's care. This ensures that financial support is fair and meets the children's needs.

Custody and support orders are not permanent and can be modified if there's a significant change in circumstances affecting the child's well-being.

Get expert financial advice

A financial advisor can help you assess your current financial status, create a post-divorce budget, and develop a long-term financial plan that aligns with your needs and goals.

Unbiased can connect you with a financial advisor suited to meet your needs. 

Simply provide some details about what you’re looking for, and Unbiased’s platform will match you with your advisor.

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Unbiased team

Our team of writers, who have decades of experience writing about personal finance, including investing and retirement, are here to help you find out what you must know about life’s biggest financial decisions.