Portland, Oregon has adopted the slogan “Keep Portland Weird.”
If you and your spouse have taken that too far and now your marriage is in trouble, you might want to study up on divorce laws in Oregon.
Oregon divorce laws – adultery
There is only one way to get a divorce in Oregon today, and that is to prove that you and your spouse have “irreconcilable differences.”
Technically a judge has to make a legal determination about the couple, but in reality, if two people want to get divorced the court is going to let them. This is called a “no-fault” system, meaning neither spouse necessarily did anything wrong.
Until the 1970s, a divorce could only be granted when one spouse had done something wrong.
This was called a “fault” divorce system, and adultery was one of the most common faults. In fact, couples that wanted to split up would often fake an affair just to get the divorce.
Modern Oregon state divorce laws have tried to purge fault from the system.
A court is not supposed to consider fault when dividing up a couple’s property, though it can be an issue in child custody and support.
Many states in the American West are so-called community-property states.
This basically means that everything a couple acquired during the marriage is jointly owned. A wife cannot earn some money and then keep it away from her husband.
Oregon is one of the few states that does not follow this law, however.
In Oregon, each spouse can acquire separate property, but when you are divorcing it does not make much of a difference because the property is divided in Oregon similarly to community property states.
Oregon divorce laws – property division
An Oregon court granting a divorce must address the division of the spouses’ property.
Judges get a lot of freedom to decide how things should be split up. State of Oregon divorce laws just requires the division to be “just and proper.”
Judges have to look at factors like the contribution each party made to the assets of the marriage.
In reality, very few couples will leave their property division up to a judge. Couples will usually reach an agreement to avoid that uncertainty. That may require the help of lawyers or a mediator, but the court is usually not the best option.
No matter how it happens, the split is usually about even.
Oregon divorce laws – child custody and support
Oregon divorce proceedings try to push couples towards amicable parenting situations.
Each parent is usually required to submit a parenting plan that will address important issues like education and living situations.
Couples will usually come to an agreement on custody, but if they cannot a judge will usually try to find a middle ground between two parenting plans.
Child support is usually straightforward once custody is settled.
Oregon has a child support calculator that considers issues like how much time each parent is caring for the child and the parent’s relative incomes.
The calculator is not the final word on support, but judges will usually follow the calculator unless there are some unusual factors to consider.