How Do I File for Divorce in Oregon?

by Bernadette A. Safrath

In Oregon, divorce is called dissolution of marriage. Either spouse can file for dissolution and must do so in accordance with the procedures set forth in the Oregon statutes. During the dissolution proceeding, a court may divide marital property, award alimony, decide custody issues and terminate the marriage.

Residency Requirements

A married couple is eligible for divorce in Oregon if the marriage took place within the state and at least one spouse is a current state resident. If the marriage occurred outside of Oregon, at least one of the spouses must reside in the state for at least six months prior to filing.

Filing Requirements

The filing spouse must prepare and submit a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The petition must be filed with the domestic relations or family law division of the Oregon circuit court located in one spouse's county of residence. Oregon has a simplified procedure, called summary dissolution, which is available for spouses who do not have minor children, have been married for less than 10 years and have limited marital assets. An online legal document preparation service can help you with this part of the process.

Grounds for Divorce

Oregon, like all other states, recognizes no-fault divorce. This means that a spouse can file for divorce citing "irreconcilable differences" that caused a breakdown in the marriage, which no amount of mediation or counseling can repair.

Notice

Once a dissolution petition has been filed and the filing fee paid to the court clerk, the papers must be served on the opposing spouse. This provides the spouse with notice of the pending divorce proceeding. Anyone over the age of 18, other than the filing spouse, can deliver the divorce papers. The opposing spouse can then choose to waive the right to answer and simply sign the papers, or may submit a response to the court within 30 days of service.

Divorce Decree

If a divorce is uncontested, an Oregon court can issue a final decree approximately three months after filing. The decree terminates the marriage, contains the distribution of marital property and allows the wife to take her maiden name again. When spouses are unable to agree on the terms of the divorce, the court will conduct hearings and a final trial until all outstanding issues are settled.