How to File for Divorce in Oregon

How to File for Divorce in Oregon

In what is probably Oregon’s best-known TV show, Portlandia, one sketch jokes that the city has created special lanes for newly-divorced people to drive on the highways through the town.  If your marriage is headed for divorce, you should learn how to file for divorce in Oregon.


In order to get a divorce in Oregon, at least one spouse must have been a resident of the state for at least six months before filing for divorce.  

A half measure

Oregon allows for legally-enforced separations.  Most people that use this option are only using it as a step towards divorce.  

You can file for a separation immediately after moving to the state, meaning you do not have to be a resident for six months.  

Also, some people do not want to get divorced for religious reasons but they do want to have some sort of legal barrier between them and their spouse. 

Grounds for divorce

Oregon is a pure no-fault divorce state.  That means that the only grounds for getting a divorce are to state that you have “irreconcilable differences” with your spouse.  

The court does not really dig into exactly what is going on with your marriage or why you have developed these problems.  

In modern times every state has recognized that if a couple wants to split up and go their separate ways they should be allowed to do that.  

Oregon is a pure no-fault divorce state

Property division

In Oregon, a property that is owned by a married couple is divided equitably at divorce.  That means that everything a couple owns is put into one big pile. This includes everything they earned or acquired during their marriage, with a few exceptions like inheritances left to one spouse.  

All these assets are then divided up in a way that the judge feels is fair.  Most couples will come to an agreement and then ask the judge just to approve their agreement. This may require a lot of work to get to an agreement, including negotiation by lawyers or the help of a mediator.  Couples rarely want to leave it up to a judge, unless they have a lot of assets to fight over. Spousal support is also available.

Child custody

Oregon law requires a parenting plan to be filed with every divorce.  The parenting plan can vary from quite simple to incredibly detailed.  

It must cover the times each child will be with each parent, and it can also cover issues like what parent will do certain tasks like haircuts or doctors appointments.  Lawyers and mediators or other professionals might be needed to help develop a plan.

Oregon has a robust state system for dealing with child support.  Oregon sets guidelines for child support that take into account factors like how much time the children are spending with each parent and how much money each parent makes.  

Judges generally just order child support in line with the guidelines, but they can deviate if they see a reason to.  These child support order can also be altered from time to time if conditions change significantly.

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