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Divorce can be a difficult and stressful process – emotionally, financially, and legally. It is important to understand the steps required to file for divorce in Oregon to ensure that everything is done correctly and efficiently. If you are considering divorce in Oregon, here’s what you need to know.

To file for divorce in Oregon, you or your spouse must have been a resident of the state for at least six months before filing. The process begins with the filing of a petition for dissolution of marriage in the Circuit Court in the county where either you or your spouse currently reside. Once the petition has been filed, the other spouse must be served with a copy of the paperwork and have the opportunity to respond. If the other spouse does not respond within the allotted time frame, the case may proceed as a default divorce. If both parties agree to the terms of the divorce, the process may be expedited through a simplified or uncontested divorce.

Filing for divorce in Oregon

Filing for divorce in Oregon involves several steps. Here is a general overview of the process:

Step 1: Meet the state residency requirements:

Before filing for a divorce in Oregon, at least one of the spouses must have lived in the state for six months or more.

Step 2: Determine the grounds for divorce:

Oregon is a no-fault divorce state, which means that neither party needs to prove fault or wrongdoing. The most common reason for a divorce in Oregon is “irreconcilable differences.”

Step 3: Fill out the necessary forms:

To file for divorce in Oregon, forms must be completed and filed with the court. These forms include the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, Summons, and other required documents.

Step 4: Serve the other party:

Once the forms are filed, the other party must be served with the divorce papers. This can be done in person or through certified mail.

Step 5: File proof of service:

The party who served the divorce papers must file proof of service with the court to show that the other party was properly notified.

Step 6: Wait for the response from the other party:

After being served, the other party has 30 days to respond to the divorce papers. If they fail to respond, the court may enter a default judgment.

Step 7: Negotiate a settlement or go to trial:

If both parties can agree on the terms of the divorce, they can negotiate a settlement and submit it to the court for approval. Otherwise, the case will go to trial.

In conclusion, filing for divorce in Oregon involves several steps, including meeting residency requirements, filling out necessary forms, serving the other party, filing proof of service, waiting for a response, and negotiating a settlement or going to trial. It’s important to follow these steps carefully to ensure that the divorce is finalized in a timely and efficient manner.

Residency Requirements for Divorce in Oregon

To file for divorce in Oregon, either you or your spouse must meet the state’s residency requirements. You or your partner must have lived in Oregon for at least six months before filing for divorce. Additionally, either you or your spouse must be a resident of the county where you plan to file for divorce for at least three months before filing.

So, if you’ve recently moved to Oregon and want a divorce, you’ll need to wait for at least six months before filing. It’s important to note that the residency requirement is in place to prevent people from forum shopping, which is the practice of divorcing in a state with more favorable laws.

To prove your residency, you’ll need to provide the court with a copy of your Oregon driver’s license, state ID card, or voter registration card. If you don’t have any of these, you can use other proof of residency like a lease agreement, utility bills, or a paystub that shows your address.

It’s also worth noting that if you or your spouse is in the military and stationed in Oregon, you may still be able to file for divorce in Oregon even if you don’t meet the residency requirements. However, you’ll need to talk to a lawyer who can help you navigate the legal procedures involved.

In summary, to file for divorce in Oregon, either you or your spouse must have lived in Oregon for at least six months, and either you or your spouse must be a resident of the county where you plan to file for divorce for at least three months. Providing the court with proof of residency is essential to meet the residency requirements.

Grounds for Divorce in Oregon

In Oregon, the only requirement to get a divorce is that the marriage is “irretrievably broken”, which means the relationship has reached a point where reconciliation is no longer possible. Neither party is required to prove fault or wrongdoing, making Oregon a no-fault divorce state.

While no-fault is the most common type of divorce, Oregon still has several “grounds for divorce” which are factors that may contribute to the breakdown of a marriage. These include:

  • Adultery: One of the parties has engaged in extramarital affairs.
  • Desertion: One party has abandoned the other for at least one year without cause.
  • Physical or emotional abuse: One party has subjected the other to physical or emotional abuse that endangers their well-being.
  • Drug or alcohol addiction: One party has a substance abuse addiction that is affecting the marriage and causing irreparable damage.
  • Imprisonment: One party has been sentenced to imprisonment for at least one year.

It’s essential to note that when using one of these grounds for divorce, the burden of proof falls on the petitioner. They must provide evidence to prove the alleged ground, which can be a challenging and emotionally taxing process. It’s why most people choose to file for no-fault divorce.

It’s also worth mentioning that none of these grounds for divorce offer any advantages in the legal process or affect the division of property, spousal support, or child custody orders. Therefore, choosing to divorce based on a ground other than “irretrievable breakdown” generally does not affect the outcome.

In summary, while Oregon recognizes several grounds for divorce, all that’s needed is that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” Couples can file without having to prove fault or wrongdoing. Undertaking a no-fault divorce generally means a less complicated and emotionally difficult process compared to utilizing a ground for divorce, which requires proving fault.

Property Division in Oregon Divorce

Once the divorce process starts, one of the most complicated matters the couple has to deal with is the division of property. Oregon is an equitable distribution state, meaning marital property is divided fairly and justly, but not necessarily equally. Property acquired during the marriage, including income, assets, and debt, should be split between the spouses.

Oregon law requires a full disclosure of assets and liabilities, including both spouses’ earnings, debts, and property, and how assets and debts accumulated. Judges may consider various factors when determining what is fair and just, such as the length of the marriage, contribution to marital assets, income, and the physical, emotional, and mental health of both parties.

In Oregon, marital property is not only limited to the property that is in the couple’s name. Income received during the marriage, gift received by one spouse, and inheritance are all considered marital property and must be divided.

Apart from the division of personal property, dividing retirement accounts or investments can be more complicated. Oregon law requires that retirement or pension plans be divided equally, but in some cases, it may be possible for one party to receive more of the retirement benefits.

It’s important to note that Oregon courts do not have the authority to divide separate property. Separate property includes any property acquired before marriage, any property that is inherited or given as a gift to one spouse, and any property identified as “separate” in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

It is highly recommended that you seek legal advice or consult with a divorce attorney to help you navigate through property division. Working with a professional can also help you gain a better understanding of what is fair and just in your situation.

Child Custody and Support in Oregon Divorce

When it comes to child custody and support in Oregon, the court seeks to make decisions that are in the best interest of the child. This involves looking at various factors such as the child’s age and health, the parents’ financial status, and their ability to provide for the child’s physical and emotional needs. In Oregon, child custody and support are treated as two separate issues that must be addressed during the divorce proceedings.

Child Custody in Oregon

Parents can agree on a custody arrangement that works best for them and their child, or they can leave the decision in the hands of the court. In Oregon, the court considers joint custody to be in the best interest of the child unless there is evidence to suggest otherwise.

There are two types of joint custody arrangements that may be ordered by the court:

  • Joint legal custody: The parents share the decision-making responsibilities regarding the child’s healthcare, education, and welfare.
  • Joint physical custody: The child spends a significant amount of time living with both parents.

If the court determines that joint custody is not in the best interest of the child, they may award sole custody to one parent. In these cases, the non-custodial parent may be granted visitation rights.

Child Support in Oregon

When it comes to child support in Oregon, both parents are required to financially support their child until they turn 18 or graduate from high school. The amount of child support is determined using the Oregon Child Support Guidelines, which take into account each parent’s income, the number of children, and their living expenses.

In addition to basic child support, the court may also order one or both parents to pay for additional expenses, such as daycare, healthcare, and extracurricular activities. These expenses are typically divided proportionally between the parents based on their income.

It’s important to note that failing to pay child support can result in serious consequences, such as wage garnishment, driver’s license suspension, and even jail time.

In conclusion, child custody and support are important components that must be addressed during a divorce in Oregon. The court seeks to make decisions that are in the best interest of the child, taking into account various factors such as the child’s age and health, and the parents’ financial status and ability to provide for their child.

Alimony in Oregon Divorce

One of the main concerns during a divorce is often the issue of alimony, which is financial support provided by one spouse to the other. In Oregon, alimony can be awarded to either spouse, depending on several factors.

One significant factor considered in determining alimony is the length of the marriage. In Oregon, a marriage that lasted less than ten years is considered a short-term marriage, while a marriage that lasted ten years or more is considered a long-term marriage. For short-term marriages, the courts may award limited-duration spousal support, while for long-term marriages, the courts may award general spousal support.

Other factors that are considered when determining alimony in an Oregon divorce include the earning capacity of each spouse, the standard of living during the marriage, and the financial needs and resources of each spouse after the divorce.

It is important to note that in Oregon, there is no formula for calculating alimony. Instead, the court evaluates each case individually and makes a decision based on the specific circumstances of the case.

If a court determines that spousal support is appropriate, there are different types of spousal support that may be awarded. These include:

  • Transitional spousal support: This type of support is awarded to help one spouse transition from married life to single life, such as covering the costs of job training or education.
  • Compensatory spousal support: This type of support is awarded to compensate one spouse for financial contributions made during the marriage.
  • Maintenance spousal support: This type of support is awarded to assist a spouse who is not self-sufficient due to age, disability, or some other reason.
  • Spousal support for equalizing property division: This type of support may be awarded when one spouse receives a larger portion of the marital property than the other spouse.

In conclusion, alimony is an important issue to consider during a divorce in Oregon. The court evaluates various factors to determine if spousal support is appropriate and, if so, what type and amount should be awarded based on the specific circumstances of the case.

The Divorce Process in Oregon

Getting a divorce can be a challenging and emotional process. In Oregon, the process of getting a divorce involves several steps that must be followed carefully to ensure a smooth and fair outcome.

1. Filing the Petition

The first step in filing for divorce in Oregon is to file a petition with the circuit court in the county where you or your spouse live. The petition must include basic information about you, your spouse, and any children you share, as well as the reason for the divorce.

2. Serving Papers

After filing the petition, it must be served to your spouse. This can be done either by a process server, a friend or family member, or through certified mail. Your spouse will then have 30 days to respond to the petition.

3. Disclosure and Negotiation

Once the petition has been served and a response has been filed, both parties will be required to disclose all the assets, debts, and income that they have. This information is used to determine the division of property and other arrangements such as child support and spousal support.

After disclosure, negotiations will begin between both parties. This involves deciding on how to divide property, child custody, support, and other matters. If both parties cannot reach an agreement, they may be required to attend mediation.

4. Going to Court

If an agreement cannot be reached, the case may go to court. A judge will then decide on the divorce terms, based on evidence and testimony given by both parties.

5. Divorce Judgment

Once the court hearing is over, a divorce judgment will be issued. This legal document will outline all of the terms of the divorce, including property division, child custody and support, and spousal support.

The process of getting a divorce in Oregon can be complex, and it is important to work with a skilled attorney who can guide you through the process. By understanding the steps involved, you can be better prepared for the journey ahead.

Mediation and arbitration in Oregon divorce

When going through a divorce in Oregon, couples may choose to use mediation or arbitration to reach a resolution without going to court. Both mediation and arbitration are alternative dispute resolution methods to litigation in which a third-party neutral assists parties in reaching an agreement. Here’s what you need to know about mediation and arbitration in Oregon divorce:


Mediation is a collaborative process where a neutral mediator helps couples communicate and negotiate an agreement that works for both of them. The mediator helps parties identify issues, clarify goals, and reach a mutually agreeable solution. Mediation can also be used to establish custody and parenting plans.

Mediation is not binding, which means that either party can withdraw from the process at any point. If the couple does reach an agreement, the mediator will draft a document summarizing the terms of the agreement, which the parties can then take to court.


Arbitration is a process in which the parties agree to submit their disputes to a neutral third-party arbitrator who makes a final decision. Arbitration can be binding or non-binding, depending on what the parties agree on beforehand.

Arbitration can be faster than going to court, but it can also be more expensive. The arbitrator’s decision is final and generally cannot be appealed, so it is important that both parties agree to the terms before proceeding with arbitration.

It is important to note that mediation and arbitration are not mutually exclusive and can be used in conjunction with each other. For example, couples may choose to mediate their disputes first and then arbitrate any remaining issues.

Overall, mediation and arbitration can be effective methods for resolving disputes in a divorce. They can be less stressful and more cost-effective than going to court, and they give parties more control over the outcome. However, it is important to work with an experienced mediator or arbitrator to ensure that the process runs smoothly and that your interests are represented fairly.

Contested and Uncontested Divorce in Oregon

Divorces can be either contested or uncontested in the state of Oregon. The difference between the two is how much the couple agrees on the terms of the divorce. An uncontested divorce is one where the couple agrees on all the major issues, such as property division, spousal support, child custody, and child support. In contrast, a contested divorce is one where the couple cannot agree on one or more of these issues.

Uncontested Divorce in Oregon

If both parties agree on all the issues, an uncontested divorce can be a simpler and faster divorce option. This is because the couples don’t have to go through lengthy court proceedings but instead can settle their disputes in mediation. Additionally, uncontested divorces are typically less expensive than contested cases because they involve fewer court costs and legal fees.

In Oregon, filing for an uncontested divorce generally involves the following steps:

  1. Filing a petition for dissolution
  2. Serving the papers to your spouse and filing proof of service
  3. Signing a marital settlement agreement
  4. Submitting the forms to the court for review and approval
  5. Scheduling a hearing with a judge to finalize the divorce

Contested Divorce in Oregon

If the couple cannot agree on one or more of the major issues, they may need to go through a contested divorce. In a contested divorce, one spouse must file a petition for dissolution and serve the papers to the other spouse. The served spouse can then file a response that either agrees or disagrees with the terms in the petition.

Once both parties have filed their initial documents, the court may require them to attend mediation to try and work out an agreement. If the couple cannot come to an agreement in mediation, the case will go to trial.

Overall, contested divorces can be more stressful, longer, and more expensive than uncontested divorces due to the need for extensive court proceedings and legal representation. It’s always best to try and work out an agreement with your spouse if possible to avoid the challenges that come with a contested divorce.


Understanding the steps involved and working with an experienced attorney can help make the process smoother and more manageable.

As we’ve discussed throughout this article, some of the essential steps of getting a divorce in Oregon include filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, serving the other spouse, attending mediation sessions, and dividing assets and debts.

It’s important to note that the specific steps and requirements may vary depending on the unique circumstances of each case. Therefore, it’s highly recommended to consult with a knowledgeable and trusted attorney who can guide you through the process and protect your legal rights.

Despite the challenges and uncertainties of divorce, it’s essential to remember that it’s also an opportunity for a fresh start and new beginning. By taking the necessary steps and seeking professional support, you can move forward with confidence and optimism towards a brighter future.


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