A Guide to Filing for Divorce in Oregon
To give you the best chance at a fair outcome for your divorce, you need to understand the rules and processes that will govern your case in Oregon. Many of these are common to all cases and knowing what they are will give you a higher degree of confidence as you work through each of the issues.
Here are some important things to know:
- Gather Important Information
- Decide How You’ll Proceed With Your Divorce
- Fill Out the Necessary Divorce Forms
- File Your Documents with the Court
- Serving Your Spouse With Divorce Papers
- FAQs About Filing For Divorce in Oregon
Gather important information
You can set the tone for how your divorce will proceed from the outset if you approach the task of gathering information the right way. Doing so can save you time, money and stress in the long haul.
You’ll also give yourself the best possible chance at the most favorable outcome if your documents are in order. Starting early and being organized are keys to successfully completing this task.
We’ve simplified the process for you by creating a Divorce Information Checklist you can find in this guide: The Ultimate Divorce Checklist: The Information You Need to Prepare for Divorce
Decide how you will proceed with your divorce
Once you have made the decision to divorce, you need to decide the framework for your divorce. You have several options, driven in part by your relationship with your spouse and how well you can agree to work together to achieve a mutual goal.
To learn more about what your options are, be sure to check out our in-depth guide on The Types of Divorce.
Fill Out the Required Oregon Divorce Forms
You might be able to file for a summary dissolution, which is the easiest of all types of filings, as long as you meet all the criteria, including:
- Residency – You or your spouse are a resident of Oregon and one of you has been living here for the last six months;
- Length of Marriage – You have not been married for more than ten years;
- Children – You have no minor children (or children 18-20 years old attending school), born to or adopted by you and your spouse, either before or during the marriage. The wife is not pregnant now;
- Real Property – Neither you nor your spouse owns any real property (land, houses, or buildings) anywhere;
- Personal Property – The combined net value of the personal property owned by you and your spouse is not more than $30,000;
- Debts – The combined unpaid debts of you and your spouse during your marriage are not more than $15,000;
- Spousal Support – Neither spouse is asking for spousal support;
- Temporary Orders – Neither spouse is asking for any temporary orders (except a restraining order in a separate Family Abuse Prevention Act case); and
- Other Divorce Actions – You are not aware of any other divorce or annulment proceedings involving this marriage filed in any court and not yet decided.
If you don’t meet all of these criteria, you will have to use standard dissolution of marriage forms available that you can get from your local courthouse or use an attorney to help you with this process which is strongly advisable if you are going through a contested divorce.
File Your Divorce Forms with the Court
After you have completed your paperwork, it must be filed with the county court of the county where either you or the defendant lives. If your spouse lives out of state or is in the military, check with the court personnel to see what special rules apply.
Serving Your Spouse With Divorce Papers
It’s possible to complete proof of service in Oregon by having your spouse sign paperwork to confirm he or she has been served.
If they won’t agree to do this, then your attorney will make arrangements for proof of service to be completed. If you don’t have an attorney, your spouse can be served by the sheriff or another adult. This can be anyone over 18 years old who is not a party to the divorce, or you can use a professional process server.
If you’ve made attempts to find your spouse and can’t do so, you can publish the divorce notice in a local paper or by posting it. You will need to get permission from a judge to use either of these methods. Publishing a notice in a newspaper may run about $100 but posting a notice in the courthouse will be free.
After proof of service, your spouse has 30 days to respond to the complaint. If they fail to respond, you can move forward with seeking a summary judgment without them.
Frequently Asked Questions About Filing for Divorce in Oregon
How much does it cost to file for a divorce in Oregon?
To file for a divorce in Oregon, a petitioner must pay a $273 filing fee. There will also be an additional fee if you use a sheriff or a process server to complete proof of service. This may run $25 to $75. This amount will vary depending on which method you choose.
When a defendant responds, they will also need to pay a $273 filing fee as well.
Additional Reading: Guide to Divorce Financial Planning
Can divorce fees be waived in Oregon?
If you are not able to pay your filing fees, then it may be possible to ask a judge to waive the fees for your divorce by filing a Waiver or Deferral of Fees form with the court.
Approval is not automatic. The court will consider your request and if you qualify, you will not need to pay filing fees.
Can I file for a divorce online in Oregon?
You sure can. As a matter of fact, filing for divorce online can be a great way to save time and money.
Online divorce isn’t right for everyone. It doesn’t work if you have a contested divorce (you can’t reach agreements with your spouse and need a judge to make decisions).
If you have a dispute over child custody or particularly complicated finances, you should consult with a lawyer. There’s simply too much on the line to cut corners.
But if you have an amicable divorce, you might be able to do it yourself.
I won’t sugarcoat it. The legal system is confusing. There’s a ton of paperwork and mistakes can be costly.
Fortunately, there are tools that can help. That’s where 3StepDivorce comes in. 3StepDivorce makes it easy to complete all your divorce papers and gives you clear step-by-step filing instructions. All you need to do is answer a series of questions, which shouldn’t take more than an hour.
Not all online divorce companies are created equal. In fact, most fail to deliver on their promises. Here’s how 3StepDivorce stands out:
- A+ rating with the BBB
- 100% court approval guarantee or your money back
- Established in 1997 with over 750,000 customers
- Private and secure
- $299 flat-fee with no hidden charges
- Flexible monthly payment options (get started for as little as $84)
- Unlimited live support by phone and email
- Print your completed forms immediately or have them mailed to you at no additional cost
- Excellent customer reviews (4.6 stars on Trustpilot)
One of the things that really stands out to me is that only 4% of all reviews are 1- or 2-stars. In other words, virtually everyone has a good experience with 3StepDivorce.
Read our full 3StepDivorce review, or check out 3StepDivorce to get started for as little as $84 >>
How long does it take to get a divorce in Oregon?
After a petitioner files documents with the court, the defendant has 30 days to reply. As long as all other requirements are met, there is no additional waiting period and a divorce may be completed in as little as 6 weeks overall, depending on the court’s backlog.
It both spouses file a co-petition for divorce, it usually takes about two weeks or less for a judge to sign off on the divorce.
But if a divorce is contested through a trial, or you use other means such as mediation or arbitration, it could take several months to resolve issues before a final judgment is entered.
What are the residency requirements to file for a divorce in Oregon?
To file for divorce in Oregon, at least one of the spouses must have been a resident of the state for six months prior to the filing paperwork with the court.
Can I file for divorce in Oregon without using a lawyer?
Yes. If your divorce is uncontested and you agree on all settlement issues, you can go through the divorce process in Oregon without using a lawyer.
Oregon has a short form summary dissolution that people can go through if they have a simple case and meet all the requirements. Many Oregon counties have family court facilitators at the courthouse to assist in completing and filing self-help divorce forms.
Can I get a divorce in Oregon if I am pregnant?
You can start the process, but your divorce will not be finalized until the baby is born. This is because the courts will need to determine child support and custody issues.
In Oregon, it is presumed that the husband of a pregnant spouse is the child’s father and this is used as the starting basis to settle these issues. But if the husband is not the father, it must be noted on the divorce petition and it’s possible that either spouse can file a petition with the court to establish paternity through genetic testing.
How is my divorce affected if I am a member of the military in Oregon?
In some respects, military divorces follow the same procedures as civilian divorces in Oregon. But there are some notable differences as well because members of the military are afforded certain protections while they serve.
It’s best to file a divorce in the United States even if deployed overseas. Military divorce laws allow service members and their spouses to file for divorce in:
- The state where the nonmilitary spouse resides
- The state where the service member is currently stationed
- The state where the service member claims legal residency.
Under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, active military members are protected from default judgements while on active duty. The thinking here is that no servicemember should be distracted by legal issues such as a divorce while actively serving in another state or country.
However, a servicemember may choose to waive delaying the divorce by signing off on paperwork that allows the divorce to proceed uncontested.
A division of assets, child support and spousal support are handled differently than in a civilian case. Federal law dictates that these awards may not exceed 60% of a servicemembers pay and allowances.
How retirement benefits are divided is governed by the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act. A key element is that the former spouse must have been married to the former servicemember for a minimum of 10 years while the military member has served on active duty.
A former spouse who has not remarried may receive medical, commissary, exchange and theater privileges under the Morale, Welfare and Recreation program if he or she meets the requirements of what is known as the 20/20/20 rule:
- The former spouse was married to the military member for at least 20 years at the time of the divorce, dissolution or annulment.
- The military member has performed at least 20 years of service that is creditable in determining eligibility for retired pay (the member does not have to be retired from active duty).
- The former spouse was married to the member during at least 20 years of the member’s retirement-creditable service.
Former spouses may also be entitled to TRICARE medical coverage if he or she meets certain requirements.
Looking for more great tips about filing for divorce? Check out a few of our favorite resources:
- How to File for Divorce
- How Should I Prepare for Divorce
- What Are The Types of Divorce
- How Should I Prepare for Divorce