Deciding to divorce is never an easy decision, especially if you're pregnant. Although being pregnant during your divorce may not be ideal, navigating through the process can still be relatively easy if you know what to expect and understand how your pregnancy may affect the divorce proceedings.
Regardless of whether a spouse is pregnant, all couples seeking divorce must comply with certain procedures when filing for divorce in Oregon. First, you may file for divorce if you or your spouse have resided in the state for at least six months before filing for divorce. Next, you must file a Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage in the circuit court of the county where either you or your spouse lives; a joint petition may be filed if both spouses are in agreement. Since Oregon is a pure no-fault state, you will list your grounds -- or reasons -- for divorce as irreconcilable differences; Oregon does not provide any other grounds for divorce. Additional information required on the petition include your demographic data, what you are seeking from the divorce and whether you are pregnant and your husband is the father of the child.
In Oregon, the husband of a pregnant spouse is presumed to be the child's father, and the court will decide child custody and support accordingly. This presumption applies even if the wife does not include her husband's name on the child's birth certificate. Therefore, if the child's father is not the wife's husband, this must be noted on the divorce petition. If paternity is unknown or uncertain, either spouse may file a petition asking the court to establish paternity; the court will likely order genetic testing, which may delay the divorce proceedings until paternity can be confirmed. If it is determined that the husband is not the father, the court is unlikely to address matters of child custody or child support in the divorce decree.
Once the petition and other required documents are filed, the divorce paperwork must be served on the other spouse; this is not necessary if a joint petition was filed. If the other spouse files an answer and disagrees with any part of the petition, the divorce will be considered "contested" and proceed to trial. If the spouses don't reach a settlement agreement addressing issues of property division, alimony, child support and custody, the court will decide these matters for them at the divorce hearing. If the spouses filed a joint petition or the divorce is otherwise uncontested -- meaning the spouses agree on all marital issues -- a trial will not be necessary; then the court will finalize the divorce after 90 days have passed since the petition was served, unless the court waives the waiting period. Child support and custody determinations may be put on hold until after your child has been born.
Oregon offers a simplified divorce option, known as summary dissolution, for spouses interested in a relatively quick and simple divorce process. To qualify, spouses must have been married for less than 10 years, own no real estate, have personal property valued no more than $15,000 or debts totaling more than $15,000, and are not seeking alimony. Pregnant spouses who would otherwise qualify for a summary dissolution are not eligible to apply.