Your Complete Guide to Getting a Divorce in Oregon 

What We Cover In This Article

Divorce Laws | Residency Requirements | Grounds for Divorce | Divorce Attorney | Filing for Divorce | Online Divorce | How Long? | Divorce Costs | Custody | Child Support | Alimony | Division of Asset | Common-Law Marriage | Alternatives


If you have recently initiated a divorce or are thinking about doing so, you are probably overwhelmed with everything that comes along with it.

Divorce is never easy. It comes with massive financial, emotional, and social changes in your life. The legal process alone can intimidate and confuse you, so you must familiarize yourself with laws and procedures that may be foreign to you and each state does divorce a little differently.

You have to deal with lawyers and meetings and piles of paperwork on top of a life change that you’re likely not prepared to go through.

Nobody feels equipped to navigate this by themself, and they don't have to do so. If you are seeking a divorce in the state of Oregon, you have landed on the right page. We put together this comprehensive guide to prepare you for what lies ahead.

We will cover specific details about divorce laws in Oregon, the types available, the requirements and grounds to obtain a divorce in Oregon, information about attorneys, and the filing process.

Our guide will also discuss online divorce services and the intricacies of the costs and timelines involved in Oregon divorces. If you are unsure whether to proceed, try reading the section on divorce alternatives.

Whatever your question about this process, the answer is in our detailed divorce guide.

Types of Divorce Laws in Oregon

The confusion surrounding disunion results from how specific the laws are. Divorce is never subjective; you must address each situation appropriately according to the related state codes.

You can find Oregon’s specific laws in the Oregon Revised Statutes. Title 11 of the ORS contains the statutes on domestic relations, with marriage and domestic partnership covered under Chapter 106 and marital dissolution, annulment, and separation in Chapter 107. We will refer to these laws while going over pertinent divorce information in Oregon.

Sometimes, it can be challenging to interpret laws as written, so we will use as much detail and plain language as possible to make sure that you understand what you are preparing to experience and how to make this process as simple as possible.

All residents must follow Oregon's laws to the letter, or your divorce proceedings may be delayed or dismissed, causing you to begin again.

To ensure this does not happen, familiarize yourself with all associated laws. One must meet residency requirements and filing requirements. Oregon State has different grounds and different types of divorces. The laws relating to each can vary.

One of the first questions relating to divorce in any state usually relates to whether that state is a “fault” or “no-fault” divorce state. Quite a few places offer both options. However, Oregon is a no-fault state.

A no-fault divorce means that neither party will be held responsible for the circumstances leading to a divorce. Neither you nor your spouse will have to prove wrongdoing on the part of the other.

The only reason you need to commence a divorce is that the two of you cannot fix your marital problems. Oregon law calls these “irreconcilable differences” that lead to the irredeemable breakdown of your marriage.

Even though the marital issues are irreconcilable, you and your spouse do not have to be on bad terms. You may be able to come to a mutual understanding and agree on everything before the divorce takes place. This is called an uncontested divorce, and it is one of the two types of divorce in Oregon.

The other possibility is a contested divorce, which is when you and your spouse do not agree on part or all of the divorce.

The type of divorce is a vital element that affects the outcome, including how long it takes and the total costs.

Before diving into the types of marital severance, it is vital to note that Oregon uses the term “marital dissolution” to mean “divorce”. We will use the two words interchangeably in this guide, but most state resources use “dissolution

Another type of relationship recognized in Oregon is similar to marriage. A Registered Domestic Partnership is a legally binding partnership for same-sex couples. Gay marriage is federally legal, so homosexual couples may purchase a marriage license and participate in a traditional marriage.

The State of Oregon continues to allow same-sex couples to choose to register a domestic partnership instead. The legal process to dissolve these partnerships is the same as the Dissolution of Marriage process.

Contested Divorce

When we think of divorce, we usually think of endless contentious battles.

While this is not always the case, it can be in a contested divorce. “Contested” means opposed or disputed, so a contested divorce is one where the parties disagree.

This disagreement could mean that the pair is in for a long battle, with lots of fighting and many details to work out, or it could mean that they are mainly on the same page but need a judge to assist with a small issue.

Either way, a contested divorce is more involved and demanding than an uncontested divorce (which we will review in the next section).

This type may require multiple court hearings, mediation sessions, attorney involvement, or other third parties such as a guardian ad litem, court psychologist, social worker, or other professional.

There will be higher costs and take longer than an uncontested divorce.

If you are involved in a contested divorce, it is likely because you and your spouse do not agree on at least one of the following:

  • Spousal support
  • Child custody or visitation
  • Child support
  • Division of property or debt
  • Any other issue that the court must now decide

Sometimes, the parties can work these issues out in mediation and form an agreement. The quickest and easiest way to settle a contested divorce is to agree. Of course, that is not always possible.

Other times, mediation may be unsuccessful, or it may be inappropriate to attempt mediation because of extenuating circumstances, like the involvement or threat of domestic violence. Under these circumstances, a judge will hear the case decide on the issues for you.

If it is unsafe to pursue mediation or interact with your ex and work out your disagreements, then a contested divorce is the safest way to proceed. 

However, if violence or other threats are not an issue and you and your spouse can resolve your disagreements before you file for divorce, you will save yourselves a lot of time and money by proceeding with an uncontested divorce.

Pros & Cons

  • You can fight for what you feel you deserve
  • If you and your spouse can not get along, this will help move through the process with 3rd parties
  • You may have to go to trial
  • These types of divorce tend to take much longer
  • It's more expensive than uncontested or simplified divorces
  • Typically more stressful

Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce is exactly what it sounds like. The parties agree on the terms of the divorce and are willing to move forward together without a fight. 

Divorce is called a “dissolution of marriage” in Oregon. There are two ways for an uncontested dissolution to occur.

The first way is when one party, called the petitioner, files for a dissolution. The other spouse, or the respondent, has thirty days to file an answer.

If the respondent either files an answer stating they agree with the terms or fails to file a response, the court may order the dissolution and grant the petitioner everything they asked. The respondent must sign a judgment form to agree with the terms.

If the respondent does not respond to the petition, the judge will grant the dissolution as a judgment by default.

 If the respondent files an answer that objects to the given terms, the case will proceed as a contested divorce.

The other way is for the two parties to file together as co-petitioners. Using a joint petition is a simple way for a couple to part ways amicably in Oregon. All the necessary forms and instructions are online.

A summary dissolution is an uncontested divorce where the parties are co-petitioners and participate in a streamlined process that makes a dissolution possible without ever attending a hearing. 

You must meet some requirements for a summary dissolution. These requirements are:

  • You meet the residency requirements and grounds for dissolution.
  • You and your spouse do not have any biological or adopted minor children or children over age 18 who are currently in school, and neither of you is currently pregnant.
  • You have been married for ten years or less.
  • Neither of you owns real estate.
  • There is not more than $15,000 worth of debt incurred during the marriage.
  • Between you and your spouse, you do not own property worth more than $30,000.
  • Both partners waive rights to spousal support or any pendente lite orders.
  • There are no other domestic relations suits involving your marriage in any state.
  • Both parties must agree on all divorce-related terms.

For a summary dissolution, you and your partner may mail in the forms or bring them in person to the court.

Even though many couples do not qualify for a summary dissolution, there is still a way to get divorced quickly and easily. You can file as co-petitioners with your spouse.

To find the co-petition for a dissolution packet, visit the Oregon Judicial Department and search for your county circuit court. The regular packets are available on the general Forms page, but the co-petition packets are listed separately by county.

For an uncontested dissolution as joint filers, you must agree on all facets of the divorce, including child custody and support, if applicable. If you have minor children together, you must also complete a mandatory parent education course.

One main difference between an uncontested dissolution(as co-petitioners) and a summary dissolution is if you do not qualify for a summary dissolution, you will have to attend a court hearing. A hearing will extend the length of your divorce process because you have to accommodate the court schedule.

While it is not as fast as a summary dissolution, it is still a quick process, especially compared to a contested divorce involving attorneys and extensive fighting.

If you and your spouse can cooperate on your divorce and file together, you will save yourself so much time, money, and stress. An uncontested dissolution is always preferable over a contested dissolution.

Pros & Cons

  • Uncontested divorces save you time and money
  • Drama free way to end the marriage
  • These divorces tend to process quicker
  • You can avoid taking the divorce to trial
  • Requires the ability to navigate the divorce process
  • If domestic violence is involved, a contested divorce is safer
  • Neither spouse can demand additional spousal support or child support unless the other agrees.
  • Both spouses give up the right to appeal the terms of the divorce in the future.
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Key Takeaways
The two types of divorces are known as contested and uncontested. The preferred method of dissolving a marriage is through an uncontested divorce but sometimes a contested divorce is necessary.

Residency Requirements in Oregon 

When you seek a divorce, the first step is determining which court or locale has jurisdiction over your union and the impending dissolution.

This information is crucial because each state has conditions for determining residency in a divorce case. If you attempt to file for a dissolution in a state without jurisdiction over your marriage, the court will dismiss your case.

Section 107.075, Chapter 107, Title 11, Volume 3 of the Oregon Revised Statutes outlines the residency requirements.

One or both of the involved parties must be a resident of or domiciled in the state of Oregon. They must have lived in the state continuously for at least six months at the start of the action.

However, if the state of Oregon officiated the marriage, the six-month requirement does not apply as long as one of the spouses lives in Oregon when they file the petition.

Similarly, if the couple is filing for a legal separation, the six-month time period does not apply as long as one partner is a resident of Oregon.

You should file your divorce petition in the Oregon county where you or your spouse resides. 

What If One of Use Lives out of State?

When your spouse lives out of state, you will file in the county where you live. In actions where one partner resides outside of Oregon, the court can dissolve the union but not order or enforce some stipulations, like child support or spousal support.

What If I Cannot Locate My Souse?

In some situations, someone may be unable to find their spouse. While this is a difficult situation, it does not mean you can’t divorce them. 

First, you must make every effort to find or contact them. This includes contacting family or friends, searching the internet and social media, contacting their last known employer, checking with the post office or the military, if applicable. 

If you have no luck, you will file a motion requesting that the judge grant an order allowing you to use an alternative method of service. 

Instead of a process server giving the divorce petition and summons directly to your ex-partner, you will publish a notice in the local newspaper or courthouse informing your spouse of your intentions. You must publish this notice for four consecutive weeks. 

If your spouse does not see the notice or respond, then the judge will likely grant the dissolution on your terms.

Key Takeaways
In almost every divorce action commenced in Oregon, one or both parties must have been a resident of the state for six months or more. There are a couple of exceptions.

Grounds for Divorce in Oregon 

Oregon is a no-fault divorce state. In a divorce proceeding, the court does not consider the wrongdoing of either party. 

Neither spouse can use the other spouse’s misdeeds as a basis for the action and a judge cannot consider any allegations when deciding to grant the dissolution.

There is one main difference between Oregon and some other no-fault states. While some states, like California, do not allow either party to allege wrongdoing on the part of their ex, Oregon allows a judge to consider transgressions in certain limited situations.

The judge in Oregon may consider these actions when deciding on alimony. In these circumstances, the consideration of misconduct may lead to punitive actions and produce a less favorable divorce settlement for the party who “misbehaved” during their marriage.

Even though Oregon allows the limited consideration of marital transgressions, any alleged misdeeds are not permitted to be listed as grounds for the divorce.

In some states that conduct at-fault divorces, a dissolution may be granted based on one partner’s drunkenness, adultery, cruelty, or more. An Oregon court will not hear any evidence of these acts, unless in the previously mentioned situations or when it is relevant to child custody. 

In Oregon, the only grounds recognized as valid are irreconcilable differences that lead to the breakdown of the marriage. 

Two other grounds allow for the dissolution of a marriage in Oregon, but these are for annulments. They are either a lack of consent or the ability to consent due to age or understanding, coercion, force, or fraud. We will discuss annulment in the section about divorce alternatives.

Key Takeaways
Oregon is strictly a no-fault divorce state. Partners at war cannot use each other’s misdeeds during the marriage as a basis for the divorce. The only divorce grounds the Oregon government allows are irreconcilable differences causing an irredeemable breakdown.

Using an Oregon Divorce Attorney 

An important consideration when planning for a divorce is whether or not you will use a divorce attorney.

There are situations in which you will want to hire counsel, and times when you probably do not need to do so.

In a joint petition or a summary dissolution where you and your spouse agree on all of the terms and do not need the courts to decide on any issues for you, you can forego spending money on an attorney and proceed pro se(meaning “in one’s own behalf”, or representing yourself). 

In simple DIY dissolution efforts, you usually will not need legal counsel. If you run into an unfamiliar issue or have worries about your divorce proceeding, we recommend you consult with a professional.

Many factors will affect the overall necessity of a divorce attorney. 

If your divorce is contentious and you anticipate a lot of disagreements and fighting, you will want to hire representation. This will ensure that your rights are protected.

You will have somebody to advocate for you during the dissolution process and can rest easy knowing that somebody who knows the intricacies of family law is following state statutes to the letter.

We discussed the importance of filing for divorce correctly and being familiar with the specifics of the law. When you hire legal counsel, you are paying for peace of mind. A lawyer will make sure that everything is legitimate. This will avoid the possibility of your case being delayed or dismissed.

If you have property or assets that you must divide or even debts that you and your spouse must split, and you cannot decide how to separate these assets equally, you will need representation.

You may have to attend a mandatory arbitration session and want your attorney there to answer any questions or make suggestions to resolve the disagreements so that it does not have to go in front of the judge.

Of course, the more disagreements involved in your marriage dissolution, the more likely you will need a lawyer. You do not want to represent yourself in a complex case and end up with an unfair settlement because you cannot advocate for yourself. 

Likewise, if minor children are involved in the process, you should retain a lawyer unless you and your spouse agree to everything as co-petitioners.

Child custody, visitation, and child support are all heated issues that can cause either side to become perplexed and litigious. Lacking proper representation during a custody battle could harm you and your child(ren).

To make sure that you and your children are protected, you should hire a professional for all contested cases that involve minors.

Just how an attorney can help make a complex situation more manageable, they can also take care of the paperwork. An attorney will ensure that your paperwork is filed promptly and follows the correct procedures. 

Plus, it’s helpful to have somebody on your side. Divorce can be confusing and challenging. It can also feel isolating and emotionally draining. Your attorney’s job will be to advocate for you and make sure that you receive fair and just treatment and that your settlement is equitable.

A professional in your corner navigating the complicated legal system on your behalf is priceless.

Despite these advantages, hiring legal representation is not always the right decision. 

A downside to hiring an attorney is the slight loss of autonomy. Most people hire an attorney because they are committed to representing them and their best interests. You and your lawyer may disagree on what those best interests may be. 

Perhaps the biggest disadvantage, however, is cost. Some lawyers cost thousands of dollars. The more contentious your separation, the more your lawyer will end up costing.

We suggest representing yourself if your dissolution is easily solved because you and your ex-spouse agree on the terms of your divorce. If the two of you can file the paperwork yourselves and do not require assistance in settling disagreements, then you should save yourselves the money.

Since this is such an important transitionary period of your life, you need to make sure that your lawyer is dependable and that you can trust them.

Finding a good lawyer with experience is a process of its own, and one that you should start as soon as you decide to file for divorce. 

Read More: Divorce advice for men or Divorce advice for women

What Makes a Good Divorce Attorney

There are several desirable traits in a family law attorney. It’s imperative that you find an attorney that matches the qualities you are searching for and seems to be a good fit for your case. 

When you begin your search for a lawyer, you will want to write down these qualities, along with any others that you may think of. This will help you narrow down your choices so that you can make the best possible selection. 

Skill and Experience

You must feel confident that your divorce is being handled by someone well-versed in matters of family law, specifically divorce.

An experienced and knowledgeable divorce attorney should answer any questions about complicated divorces without much difficulty. If you have a unique situation or problem that may arise, you will want to be sure that the attorney you have chosen has experience specifically with that kind of matter.

You do not want your case to be unique to your lawyer and for them to lose focus on you having a positive outcome.

Communication Skills

Communication is crucial. Not only in the courtroom, where you will need your lawyer to be a vocal advocate for you and to make statements on your behalf but at all other times as well.

If you have a question about your case, this likely feels like an urgent issue. Many clients have complained of attorneys that are not responsive to questions. 

You will want to ensure that the individual that you hire to represent you will be available to take your calls and/or answer your emails and respond to questions you may have about your case. 

Family law is always busy. Not all attorneys have time to answer the phone every time it rings. Lawyers may miss a question or two or not be available to take a call.

For that reason, it is a good idea for your attorney to have someone in their office that has been designated to answer divorce-related questions. This way, you do not ever feel as if you are being left alone to research difficult questions. That’s why you pay for professional help! 


In addition to good communication with clients, attorneys must display adequate “people skills” in the courtroom. The best attorney is one who can speak with the judge, opposing lawyer, and any other third party with confidence and ease. 

You must be able to feel comfortable in his or her presence. If you hire an attorney and they seem intimidating or inaccessible to you, you will have a lower chance of success. This is because you will not feel comfortable speaking your mind or requesting assistance.

Your attorney’s speech should be direct and clear, and you must be sure that he or she is honest and trustworthy. 

Interpersonal skills are important when you want to feel well represented in court.

How to Find a Good Divorce Attorney

Since you now know the qualities you are looking for in an attorney, it’s time to find them. You want to be sure to make the correct choice because this is someone who will have a huge bearing on the divorce proceedings.

First, sit down and figure out what your budget is.

You and your lawyer both should be realistic and open about how much you expect the entire divorce to cost and how much you can afford.

Make sure to budget for more than you or a potential attorney predicts the case will cost so that you have a buffer amount, in case you go over the agreed-upon billable time, or there is an unexpected cost or delay. 

The next thing you will want to do is compile a list of available attorneys. 

Look at candidates in your area. Before you even contact any of them, you can narrow your list down by doing a few things.

Talk to friends and family who have been divorced. Ask about their lawyers and get a clear, honest opinion on the services the attorney provided. 

Check for reviews online. You can read testimonials on legal review sites and social media pages.

Any attorneys that you no longer feel good about can be crossed off of your list. Take note of any that stand out to you based on glowing reviews.

Next, you will want to contact the offices and speak to the attorney or paralegal about pricing. 

Remember that they can only give estimates and ranges based on their fees and experience. The total cost of your divorce will depend on all of the different variables involved. 

If a particular lawyer’s retainer fee or hourly budget seems like it will be beyond your budget, then you can eliminate them before even meeting them. This ensures that you do not waste anyone’s time or have your time wasted.

Order your current list depending on your preferences.

You will want to schedule consultations with the attorneys on your list, one at a time. Start with your first choice. 

During the consultation, explain your divorce case, get their feedback, and ask simple interview questions to determine if this lawyer is a good fit for your divorce needs.

If you feel confident with the first lawyer on your list after meeting them, feel free to hire them. 

If you still need or want to review other candidates, simply move on to your next choice and schedule an interview.

Before selecting your representation, be certain that you are comfortable with your choice, that they are knowledgeable and have experience, and that you communicate well and can build rapport during your meeting. 

Interview Questions for Divorce Attorneys

We’ve put together some basic questions that you can ask any lawyer before hiring them for your divorce. Make sure to write down any other questions you may have.

1. Do you specialize in divorces? How many cases like mine have you handled?

There are specialists and generalists in the world of law. For a divorce, a specialist is preferred. This way, you know that you are working with someone who generally focuses on divorce and is up-to-date on any revised statutes, and knows how to interpret divorce laws.

Experience is crucial, and knowing that your attorney has worked on cases similar to yours will help you be confident in your choice.

2. How long will you take to return phone calls?

Sometimes lawyers have a full caseload with multiple divorces, hearings, meetings, and other commitments.

A delay of several hours when returning a phone call is reasonable. 

However, if you have to wait days to hear back about a simple question, then you are probably not working with a reliable attorney. 

3. What strategy would you use for my case?

After explaining the details of your divorce, allow the lawyer to tell you how they intend to proceed. 

This information will help you gauge whether your attorney can make good decisions about your case, and will let you begin to get organized for your divorce case.

4. How do you plan to charge me?

Remember to ask about payment methods, transparent billing, payment schedules, or any other money-related question.

5. What costs besides yours should I expect?

Divorces could require a wide range of third parties to get involved. 

After reading your case information, a lawyer should be able to predict which third parties and other circumstances may be involved. These can include doctors visits, accountants, private investigators, court psychiatrists, guardian ad litems, and more.

Is the Initial Consultation Free?

This is typically on a case-by-case basis.

Many attorneys offer an initial consultation for free. However, others offer consultations at their normal hourly rate. Some charge a reduced rate for a short consultation.

Sometimes an attorney will apply the consultation cost to your retainer fee if you decide to hire them.

Some programs provide attorney consultations, like the Oregon Lawyer Referral Service. This service helps connect you with a lawyer for a 30-minute consult at a maximum cost of $35. 

Is the Meeting Confidential?

Yes. All attorney consultations are confidential. 

Even if you do not hire a lawyer, the details of your conversation will always be confidential. 

Usually, your spouse cannot hire an attorney that you consulted with. This is because it is considered a conflict of interest. 

Pros of using an attorney

The advantages of using a divorce lawyer include:

  • Legal knowledge: An attorney will understand the details and specifics of Oregon law. They will know what you are entitled to and what factors could affect your case. Lawyers also know what will be important to the court and can focus on prioritizing those issues.
  • Stress reduction: Dissolving a marriage is already a stressful and difficult process for most people, especially if there is a contested divorce. Hiring representation gives you an expert on your side who understands the laws and the process. Your role will be to provide pertinent information and signatures. This takes a lot of responsibility and weight off of your shoulders.
  • Paperwork assistance: Divorces involve tons of paperwork! Sometimes you will have to submit the same paperwork multiple times. Lawyers help make sure that everything is filled out accurately and completely and that it is all submitted on time. 
  • Neutrality: An attorney is paid to be on your side, but he or she will not have an emotional attachment to you or your case. This means that you can get an unbiased view on certain issues (like custody or asset division). 

Cons of using an attorney 

There are also clear disadvantages to hiring legal counsel.

  • Divorce lawyers are expensive: While you may find someone with reasonable prices, hiring an attorney can still be more expensive than you planned on and you may be unable to retain them for an extended period. This might encourage you to file an uncontested or joint dissolution even if you want to contest your spouse’s wishes.
  • There may be disagreements: Like we mentioned, bringing in a third party to assist you could take some of your power and control over the situation. It is challenging to navigate the experience of disagreeing with your counsel. 
  • Additional drama: Whether you intend on this being a malicious action or not, sometimes the other party will see you hiring a lawyer as an attack. They may feel surprised and make assumptions about your plans. This can lead to further drama, emotions, and fighting. This is especially true if you retain a lawyer during an uncontested case.
Key Takeaways
Many factors go into the decision to hire a lawyer. Several things affect the cost, the appropriateness, and your ability to retain counsel. The type of divorce (contested or uncontested) is the biggest determination as to whether you will need a lawyer or not.

Filing for Divorce in Oregon 

Filing for divorce is sometimes the trickiest part of the process. 

If you don’t know where to begin or how the process works, this can be a daunting task that overwhelms and exhausts you.

We put together a detailed guide covering each step. We included explanations so that you can proceed confidently.

Be aware that this is a great overview for those who are proceeding without an attorney. If you hire a lawyer, that person will take care of the majority of this process for you and you do not have to worry about finding and preparing the correct forms.

Pro Tip: The information below is perfect for you to get an overview of the divorce filing process and also use as a guide if you will be filing for divorce on your own. However, if you are using an attorney, their team will typically be taking care of these steps as part of their proper representation of you as a client.

Preparing Your Divorce Forms

The first step to initiating a divorce action is gathering the correct forms and filling them out correctly.

The Oregon Judicial Department website houses most of the forms and instructions you will need to petition for a dissolution of marriage. There are a few locations on the website you should check for your forms, depending on your specific needs. 

The Forms Center is where you will find the packets for filing or responding to a divorce petition with or without children. 

To locate co-petitioner packets, search for your county clerk site. The paperwork may be located under the county-specific forms available online. If they are not, call or visit your county office in person to request those forms.

If you are filing for a summary dissolution with your partner, you must request the necessary paperwork from your local county clerk. 

Finally, you can use the OJD Interactive Forms site to make this more convenient. If you are filing or responding to a dissolution petition, you can use the iForms portal to complete a simple interview and fill out the necessary paperwork from your computer. 

You can then print it and bring it to the appropriate location, or you can use the iFile option and file your petition or response from your computer.

As an example, we will review the forms needed to file for dissolution of a marriage or Registered Domestic Partnership with children. If you choose to fill these out electronically or print and file them, you must enter all information completely and accurately. 

These forms are for petitioners. If you must respond to a petition, you will use the packet labeled “for Respondent” to fill out the appropriate paperwork.

  • Petition for Dissolution of Marriage/RDP: This form will alert the court of your intentions to dissolve your marriage or partnership. It includes information about your marriage and the dissolution process. The petition will contain details about any relief that you are requesting from the court, like custody, child support, partner support, or property and debt division.
  • Summons For Family Law Case: This form will alert your partner that you have filed a petition with the court. It gives them thirty days to respond and informs them that if they do not file an answer, the court will issue a default judgment in the petitioner’s favor. 
  • Record of Dissolution of Marriage, Annulment, or Registered Domestic Partnership: This form will contain personal information and demographics about you, your partner, and your marriage or RDP. It will go to the Oregon Health Authority and the Center for Health Statistics.
  • Confidential Information Form: You mustn’t include social security numbers or other sensitive information on your petition or other forms. These belong on a Confidential Information Form so that each party in the case is protected. 
  • Notice of Filing of Confidential Information Form: This paper is just a supplemental form to the previous CIF, informing the court and the other parties that a form containing their sensitive information has been filed and is on record.
  • Acceptance of Service: This paper indicates that you have received a copy of the appropriate paperwork relating to your family law case. You will use this when your spouse agrees to sign stating that they have been served.
  • Certificate of Service: The Certificate of Service will be filled out by the process server or other individual (who cannot be an attorney or party to the case) who serves copies of the petition to your spouse. It contains details about the location, date, and time that your ex received the petition.
  • Certificate of Mailing or Delivery to Division of Child Support: This certifies that the petition and appropriate information regarding child support has been hand-delivered or mailed to the Division of Child Support in Oregon.
  • Notice of Proposed Judgment or Order: This notice informs the other party that you intend to submit your proposed judgment to the court and allows them to object to any of the terms you have selected.
  • Declaration Supporting General Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage/RDP: Once your spouse has responded or failed to respond, either agreeing to the terms or triggering an Order of Default, you will use this form to certify that all information in the judgment is correct.
  • General Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage/RDP: This document details the outcome of the case and includes all of the orders that the judge is granting. Details about child custody and visitation, child support, alimony, restraining orders, name changes, personal property, and debt division, and anything else will be described in this order. Once the judge signs this order, your marriage will be over.

These are the general common forms found in the packet. There are more specific forms to be used in certain circumstances, like forms for ex parte motions and the order on motion of default. The packet on the OJD website contains detailed instructions telling you when to use each form.

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Filing Your Divorce Forms

Once the paperwork is all gathered and ready for submission, you must decide how you are going to proceed. 

You can take physical copies of your divorce forms or packet to the Family Law Clerk in the county in which you are filing. Select your county on the state judicial website to find the address of the appropriate office. 

The local court will have a family law facilitator who is available to review your forms for completeness and assist you in filing them correctly. They are not attorneys and cannot give you legal advice about your case. 

In many cases, you can eFile your forms on the OJD website. This eliminates the need to go to the courthouse in person. 

However you file your forms, you will still have to pay the filing fee unless you also file a waiver to excuse the costs,  if you are eligible.

Serving Your Spouse

You must serve your spouse with a copy of the divorce papers. Otherwise, the petition will not be valid and the case will be dismissed. 

There are a few options for service.

First, your spouse can sign the Acceptance of Service form indicating that he or she agrees that you gave them a copy of the petition. This is usually used when you agree or are on good terms.  

Otherwise, you must serve your spouse. If you have an attorney, they will handle this portion. If you are representing yourself, an attorney, process server, or another individual can serve your ex. 

If you cannot locate your spouse, there is a Request for Alternative Service packet on the OJD website. This will help you follow the necessary steps to attempt to locate your ex and serve him or her by publication or other means.

Financial Disclosures

“Financial disclosures” refer to any form that asks you about your property, assets, and income. When there is a request for property and debt division, alimony, or child support, both parties must provide an in-depth view of their financial situation.

Financial disclosures will include each party’s income, owned assets, owed debts, real property, retirement accounts, and other information. The enclosed information can be used to assess which party is entitled to relief or support. 

It is important to fill out financial information accurately and honestly. You could face serious consequences for omitting or falsifying information to the court.

Key Takeaways
Oregon makes filing for divorce simple. You can DIY the process and file online or in person. There are self-help packets available online and at the county clerk’s office that walk you through the process and make sure that you file the appropriate forms for your situation.

Online Divorce in Oregon 

Online divorce services are quickly becoming popular due to their ease of use. In an era where we do almost everything virtually, it only makes sense that we can conduct a divorce online as well.

There are two ways to file for divorce online in Oregon. The first way is to eFile your forms using the interactive OJD portal. 

The other way is to use a professional online divorce service. The reason why this may be the option for you is that you have the bonus of professional and knowledgeable support staff to assist you with the process. 

Online divorce services will guarantee that your paperwork is done correctly. They help you prepare complex documents and navigate the difficult process. This takes the stress and worries away from you so that you can focus on opening the next chapter of your life.

This makes it possible to file for divorce without an attorney while still having the peace of mind granted by having a legal team on your side to ensure that your petition is accurate to the law.

Online divorce in Oregon is simple. Most services will provide a money-back guarantee promising that the court will accept your paperwork.

There are some stipulations to online divorce in Oregon.

How to Qualify for an Online Divorce in Oregon

To qualify to use an online divorce service, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must be eligible for divorce in Oregon. This means that you or your spouse meet the residency requirement and the no-fault ground for dissolution.
  • The divorce is uncontested. You and your spouse must agree on all terms of the divorce. If any matter is contested, the divorce becomes more complex and must be handled traditionally through the courts.
  • Your spouse is willing to sign the papers. When filing online, your spouse must be willing to either sign as the respondent in agreement with you or sign as your co-petitioner. Online divorce services are designed to make the process faster and easier for couples who are already prepared to move forward. If you do not have your spouse’s full cooperation, you will need to consult with an attorney or file a petition for dissolution through your county office.

In many states, there are stipulations about minor children that state that cases regarding child custody or support or other issues involving minor children cannot be filed online.

However, in Oregon, if you and your ex-spouse agree on all terms, you may file for dissolution online regardless of if you have children together or not. 

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Do You Still Need to Go to Court? 

In many cases, you can get divorced in Oregon without ever stepping foot in a courtroom. This includes divorces that were obtained through online divorce services. 

Whether a hearing is required or not depends on a few factors, like the complexity of your divorce. The court will inform you if you and/or your spouse are required to attend a hearing to confirm your dissolution. 

Key Takeaways
Online divorce services are convenient programs that allow you to complete and file divorce paperwork quickly and easily. In some cases, you can obtain a divorce without ever going to court. We recommend 3StepDivorce learn more >>

How Long Does It Take to Get a Divorce in Oregon 

The simplest answer we can give to this question is that each divorce is different, and the timeline will vary. The range for how long it takes can be anywhere from a few days, to several months or even a year!

Divorce in the state of Oregon is final once a judge signs the Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage or RDP form.

There is no waiting period or other paperwork requirements needed to make this form official. Your journey will be over and you will be free to move on.

However, many factors contribute to how long a divorce will take in Oregon.

Theoretically, the very lowest amount of time a divorce in Oregon can take is a day. If a couple submits a joint petition for a summary dissolution, which is the simplest and easiest way to get a divorce for those who qualify, then all they need is the judge’s signature.

This minimal time frame is not at all likely, because it depends on the court’s schedule, staffing, and how busy the judge is. 

However, even with a clogged family law system in a busy county court, you still may see your dissolution finalized in just a few days. If your paperwork winds up on the judge’s desk quickly, he or she will sign and your divorce will be done!

For all other divorces, other elements contribute to the timelines.

For a joint petition that does not meet the requirements for a summary dissolution, you can still complete the process quickly. The main difference between a joint petition and a summary dissolution is that with the former, you may be required to attend a hearing to confirm your divorce.

How quickly this occurs depends on how busy the court is and how quickly they can schedule your hearing with the judge.

For an uncontested divorce that is not a joint petition, obtaining a divorce quickly requires you to complete all the required steps as soon as possible. 

If your partner agrees to the terms of the divorce but chooses not to file a response, you will receive a default judgment. While this still gets you the outcome that you want, it takes longer than it would in other circumstances.

A default order cannot be issued until the respondent has taken longer than the given thirty days to respond to the petition. 

It is much quicker and easier for all involved if the respondent files a response agreeing to the terms in your proposed order. This will get the ball moving on having a judge sign the Judgment of Dissolution and putting an end to this part of your life. 

How long it will take to finalize a contested divorce is a much more variable timeframe. 

In Oregon, a contested divorce can still be finished quickly if the warring partners come together during a mediation session and form an agreement about the terms of the divorce. This can require compromise from one or both parties. 

However, if all attempts to compromise fail, you and your ex-spouse will end up in court. A judge will have to decide on the outcome of your contentious points. 

While the courts try to schedule hearings as quickly as possible, you may end up waiting a long time to have your case heard.

Since the divorce timelines are so variable, we wanted to give you an idea of the most common factors that contribute to longer (or shorter) divorces. These mostly apply to contested divorces, since that is the more difficult type of divorce process to complete.

Is the Dissolution Contentious or Amicable?

Dissolutions in which the parties do not get along are more contentious and take longer. You can speed up your divorce by being amicable and getting along with your spouse. Partners who cooperate are more likely to agree.

There may be disagreements about child custody or property division. The presence of disagreements does not always indicate bad feelings between the parties.

They may not want to fight or disparage one another but may require help from a judge deciding on the final terms. They may simply need a third party to help them determine what is fair.

However, if they do have bad feelings or feel unable to communicate or cooperate, it may be even harder to work these situations out. In these cases, the dissolution will take much longer.

How Complex Is Your Situation? 

Complicated divorces take a longer time to complete.

One of the biggest factors that complicate a divorce and contribute to a longer proceeding is the presence of minor children that were born of the marriage. In Oregon, even adult children can have a bearing on the divorce case.

Custody arrangements and visitation must be agreed upon, along with child support, medical, and educational expenses. These are all contentious issues that can cause two people who otherwise like each other to become enemies.

It is easy to feel as if you are under attack when someone is requesting custody of your child, even if that somebody is their other parent.

Child support can also be seen as an attack, depending on how each party views the process.

These issues add to the length of time it will take to finalize the divorce. If you are using an attorney, this translates to more billable hours as well.

For this reason, it’s important to try to agree as much as possible as soon as you can. We know this is not always possible, however. 

How Many Assets Do You Share? 

The more property or debt that a married couple owns, the longer the divorce can take.

Couples that have a lot of assets will experience a longer wait because they must negotiate on property division and/or wait for a hearing to allow a judge to decide.

It is very difficult and can take a long time to disentangle finances, assets (like property, investments, and business), and debts. You may not be able to agree on a fair and equitable manner of distribution.

This will require professional help and can make your divorce last longer.

Many factors contribute to the length of a divorce timeline in Oregon. Whether you and your spouse co-petition for dissolution or are participating in a contested or uncontested divorce are all main factors. Assets, children, and other contentious issues can draw the process out longer.

Divorce Costs in Oregon 

Just like every other aspect of divorce, the costs can vary wildly. 

The average divorce is between $11,000 and $15,000 in Oregon. However, you must account for your specific circumstances when attempting to estimate your divorce costs.

For example, a quick summary dissolution will be a lot less expensive than a drawn-out contested divorce involving attorneys and other paid third parties.

When discussing the cost of divorce, it’s important to point out the variables.

We will review specific costs in more detail, but the main factors that contribute to the cost of a divorce are:

  • Contested vs. Uncontested: An uncontested divorce will be cheaper. You will spend more time and money resolving a contested dissolution. 
  • Attorney or No Attorney: This is one of the biggest factors that affect divorce costs. If you hire an attorney, you are increasing the costs of your divorce by potentially thousands of dollars.
  • The Complexity of the Divorce: If you have more issues to work out (and therefore, more hearings, mediation sessions, and billable attorney hours), you will pay more for the process. The saying “time is money” definitely refers to the legal process!
  • Children: Having children involved will complicate matters and increase costs overall. Sometimes, you will have to pay for a third-party evaluator or guardian ad litem to represent the children’s best interests. 

Other factors affect the divorce process, such as property division, debts, alimony, and more, but these usually fall under “complexity”.

Some fees are fixed, while some depend on the circumstances of your case. We will review these with as much accuracy as possible.

Court Fees

According to the Oregon Courts Circuit Fee Schedule, it costs $301 to file a petition for dissolution.

If your case requires a hearing to determine child custody and visitation, support, or spousal support, there will be another $301 fee per hearing.

Attorney Fees

Attorneys charge several fees:

  • Retainer: This is the initial fee that an attorney charges you to hire them. It is usually $2,000-$5,000 and may vary based on how complex your case appears to the lawyer.
  • Hourly rate: Most attorneys charge anywhere from $100-300 per hour. This amount is charged against the retainer fee. When your retainer runs low or is depleted, you may receive a bill for further charges.
  • Incidental costs: Your lawyer may charge for office supplies, administrative fees, or other costs that arise outside of their hourly rate when working on your case.

Some resources may help you find reduced-cost attorneys or consultations so that you can keep your costs lower.

Litigation Costs

Litigation costs usually just refer to the total cost of legal services. There aren’t particularly high or notable costs in Oregon that we do not cover here, but you may have to pay out of pocket for third parties to assist in your case.

These include custody evaluators or guardian ad litems for child custody cases or accountants for difficult property division disputes.

Mediation (Reduce Costs)

Most Oregon counties require mediation if minor children are involved. 

You and your spouse may both be required to pay a portion of the mediator’s fee. This is an attorney or other trained mediation specialist who will facilitate a discussion between you and your ex to help you reach an agreement.

Online Divorce Service 

Online divorce services charge an additional fee on top of the county filing fee. 

This fee is the charge for the convenience and peace of mind that you get from having assistance with your divorce. Most online divorce services charge between $99 and $300, depending on the type of dissolution you select.

Key Takeaways
The costs of a divorce are variable. You must consider all factors and options in your case to determine the final cost.
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Custody Considerations in Oregon 

Oregon’s laws govern how child custody should be determined in a divorce case. 

A parenting plan is an agreement or order that details the custody circumstances for a minor child.

The decisions you and your spouse, or a judge must make are:

Joint or Sole Custody

There are two types of custody. Custody describes the legal responsibility of a parent. It does not determine placement or visitation.

Joint custody is when both parents share all legal rights and responsibilities to the child. In Oregon, both parties must agree to joint custody. If one parent objects, a judge must decide which parent will receive sole custody.

Sole custody is when one parent retains the rights and responsibilities of making all educational, medical, legal, and other decisions for the child.

Parenting Time

Parenting time, or placement, determines how much time the child is in the physical custody of each parent. Parents may share joint custody, but the child may reside mainly or solely with one of them. 

In some cases, a judge may order supervised parenting time. This is only in extreme situations that may be dangerous to the child.

Contributing Factors

The considerations a judge must make when deciding on custody and/or parenting time are as follows:

  • The connection between the child and family members
  • The interest of the parents in the child and their attitudes towards parenting
  • The ability to continue an existing relationship
  • Domestic abuse towards either parent by the other.
  • Which parent has been the primary caregiver of the child, as long as the caregiver is deemed fit by the court
  • The willingness of each parent to encourage a relationship between the other parent and the child

Read More: Understanding The Psychological Effects of Divorce on Children

Key Takeaways
A judge will consider several factors when deciding on child custody. They will decide custody and parenting time based on these elements.

Child Support Considerations in Oregon 

In Oregon, there are standardized guidelines for child support calculation. 

The guidelines consider several factors, including:

  • Income of the parties: How much each parent makes and any spousal support ordered are both considered.
  • Parenting time percentage: How much time the child/ren spends with each parent, who pays for health insurance, and other childcare costs are all factored into the calculation.

Most judges will use the child support calculator. Couples may choose to settle on a different amount as part of their divorce and parenting plan agreement. This amount is subject to approval from the judge.

Key Takeaways
Child support is calculated using standard guidelines, making it fair in every situation.

Alimony Considerations in Oregon 

Alimony is referred to as spousal support in Oregon.

Spousal support is a recurring payment to one’s former partner ordered as part of a divorce.

There are three types of spousal support:

  • Transitional: Transitional support is a temporary order meant to help the receiving spouse receive the education or training necessary to get a job and become self-sufficient.
  • Compensatory: This type of support is designed to repay a spouse who was found to have made a significant contribution to the education, career, or earning ability of the paying spouse.
  • Spousal Maintenance: This form of spousal support is rare and is meant to maintain the previous quality of life that the couple enjoyed throughout the marriage. 

The dissolution judgment must include facts that prove why the amount was awarded. 

The judge will consider what amount is necessary to achieve the goal of spousal support.

For transitional support, it will amount to however much money will allow the receiving spouse to gain the education or skills necessary to get a job, and for compensatory support, the judge will determine how much will fairly repay the contribution made by the receiving spouse.

For spousal maintenance, the judge will consider the income and earning potential of each spouse, the length of the marriage, and many other factors.

This type of support is only ordered in long-term marriages and can be either permanent or temporary.

Key Takeaways
Spousal support is designed to assist the receiving spouse with becoming independent, repaying a contribution made to the other spouse’s earning potential or maintaining a certain lifestyle.

Division of Assets 

Oregon is an equitable division state. 

This means that property and debts are not necessarily split 50/50. Instead, the courts attempt to determine how to divide property in a way that is fair to all involved.

There are several considerations that you must make when your property is divided in an Oregon divorce.

You and your spouse should try to agree on the division of assets, but if you cannot, then a judge will make a decision. 

Many types of property can be divided during a divorce.

Real Estate

Real estate refers to land or homes that the couple owned or acquired during the marriage.

Oregon applies an “equal right” law which states that regardless of who purchased a home during the marriage or whose name it is in, a spouse who cared for a home and the children in it has an equal right to it following the divorce.

A judge will consider who has physical placement of the children when determining who should get the family home.

They would want to minimize the effects on the kids as much as possible by not displacing them from their homes.

401k, IRA, Investments

Usually, the spouse who owns a retirement account is entitled to its contents. However, contributions made during the marriage may be considered community property.

We recommend you consult an attorney about dividing investments and retirement accounts.


Businesses can be valuable assets in a divorce. The judge will have to determine if the business is marital property, by considering when it was founded and how much each partner contributed to the daily activities of the business and its financial stability. 

The court may award sole interest in the business to one partner or may divide it up by liquidating the business or ordering one spouse to buy the other spouse out.

Other Assets 

All other property and debt will be divided based on consideration of the following factors:

  • How the property was obtained (gift, inheritance, purchase)
  • If one spouse owned the property before the marriage
  • Whether the spouses had joint or separate bank accounts
  • The income and earning potential of each spouse
  • Custody of the children and the impact of the property division on the kids
Key Takeaways
Property division can be a complex and contentious issue. If you and your partner cannot agree, you may want to consult an attorney to assist you with this portion of your divorce.

Common-Law Marriage Considerations in Oregon 

Common-law marriages are relationships in which the two parties wish to live as a married couple and present themselves as spouses without officially solemnizing the marriage with the government. 

Oregon does not allow common-law marriages. However, if a common-law marriage is created in another state, Oregon will recognize it as a valid marriage from that state.

Key Takeaways
Common-law marriage is not created or recognized in Oregon, but you may continue being married in Oregon if you entered a valid common-law marriage in another state.

Alternatives to Divorce in Oregon 

Divorce is not an ideal situation. Sometimes, we might have personal, social, religious, or other reasons for not wanting to finalize a divorce. We will review some of the alternatives in Oregon.

Oregon allows a legal separation. You can file your separation with the court. The process is the same as filing for a dissolution.

You can agree or settle on the terms of the separation and request support, create a parenting plan, and more. 

In a separation, you are living apart but still legally married.


Annulments are when a marriage is completely dissolved and the government agrees to state that the marriage never existed.

According to Oregon law, the grounds for annulment are a lack of consent. This means that either consent was obtained through fraud or force, or that one party was unable to consent because they were either underage or unable to understand the commitment.

Work It out Together

Instead of a divorce, you and your partner may wish to work through your marital conflicts. The benefits to working it out are:

  • The tax and/or other financial benefits of marriage
  • Maintaining a relationship with someone you love and care about
  • Honoring your wedding vows
  • Not spending money on the divorce process
  • Not fighting over child custody, visitation, support, or anything else
  • The pride of knowing that you made a difficult situation work

Seek Counseling

To save your marriage, you may need counseling. You can find a therapist who specializes in marriage counseling to assist you and your spouse in working through your issues. 

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Open Marriage

An open marriage is a relationship where a couple is legally married but one or both partners engage in non-monogamy. You could have outside partners for sexual or romantic reasons, with the consent of your spouse. 

This path is very hard to pursue because it can lead to even more fighting or problems in your marriage.

On the other hand, this type of arrangement is exactly what some couples need to save the marriage.

Read More: Dating During a Divorce

Parenting Marriage 

A parenting marriage is where you and your spouse stay together legally until the children are of an age that you feel you can divorce without causing them emotional harm. You will be “staying together for the kids.” 

You can combine a parenting marriage with a separation agreement or with an open marriage. You may also attempt counseling and work it out to convert a parenting marriage back to a loving relationship.

Key Takeaways
There are many alternatives to divorce. You may wish to work it out and stay with your spouse or consider one of the other options for splitting up but staying married. However, if divorce is your best option, there is nothing wrong with filing a petition to end the marriage.