Overview of Divorce in Oregon

Divorce laws in Oregon are somewhat unique in a few ways.  Anyone looking to get divorced in Oregon should definitely do some reading first so that they can find out about how the courts in this state work.

Grounds for Divorce

Unlike many other states—which have a listing of several different grounds under which the state courts will grant divorce—Oregon has only a few:

  • A ‘no fault’ divorce may be granted if both spouses agree that there are irreconcilable differences.
  • A divorce may be granted if one spouse is determined to have been unable to make the decision to marry (perhaps the spouse was not of legal age or the spouse lacked the understanding of the marital process).
  • A divorce may be granted if one spouse gained the consent of the other to marry through the use of force or fraud.

 

Property Distribution in Oregon

Like many states, Oregon focuses on dividing marital property in an equitable manner.  If the spouses cannot divide their property on their own, the court will step in and declare a property award.  In doing so, the court does consider being a homemaker as contributing to the marital assets.  Additionally, items like retirement funds and pension plans are treated as property.

Child Custody Arrangements

The Oregon courts are, of course, concerned with the well-being of the child.  They will do whatever they can to determine a custody plan that will be in the best interests and welfare of the child.  The courts consider—among other factors—the following issues when thinking about custody arrangements:

  • Emotional ties between the child and other family members (including each spouse, siblings, and other relatives nearby)
  • Child preference for custody (if the child is old enough to understand the proceedings)
  • Willingness of each parent to involve the other parent in the child’s care and to keep the other parent

 

Besides drawing up a custody arrangement, the courts will also work to determine a general parenting plan.  A parenting plan might include holiday and birthday planning; what divorced spouses are to do on school holidays; how to share information and responsibility for each spouse; decision-making about the child; and methods for resolving disputes between spouses.  Oregon courts feel that focusing on these types of parenting issues along with the custodial agreement can definitely help to lead to a more successful shared parenting situation.

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