There are two kinds of divorce in most states, contested and uncontested. A contested divorce means that the couple is unwilling or unable to work out their differences alone. These differences can range from the division of property to the custody of the children and child support and spousal support. When the couple can’t agree, a judge must hold a trial and examine evidence to determine the outcome of these issues. Contested divorces take up much more time and money than uncontested divorces.
In Oregon, divorces of any kind are referred to as dissolution of marriage. That is, one spouse, or both, claims irreconcilable differences as the reason to end the marriage. Oregon used to use a fault system; however, the law was changed in 1972. Now, there is no need to prove any wrongdoing for the court to grant a divorce. Instead, a divorce is given when the spouses submit a divorce agreement that outlines a plan for moving forward (uncontested divorce) or when they petition a judge to make the agreement for them (contested divorce).
Regardless of the type of divorce, there is a residency requirement to file for divorce in Oregon. That is, one or both spouses must have lived in Oregon continuously during the previous six months.
Oregon actually has two options for uncontested divorces. The simplest version is called a summary dissolution. And if all qualifications are met, it may result in the couple not spending any time in court at all. The requirements for a summary dissolution are as follows:
- The couple has been married less than ten years.
- The couple does not share young children, either biological or adopted.
- The couple does not share children between the ages of 18 and 21 who are currently in school.
- The couple is not currently expecting a child..
- Neither spouse owns real estate
- Separate or joint personal property does not total more than $30,000.
- Individual or joint debts incurred after the marriage date do not total more than $15,000.
- The right to spousal support has been waived.
- Neither spouse has any other divorce, annulment, or separation actions pending in Oregon or other states.
- And one or both spouses have lived in Oregon continuously during the previous six months.
If the couple does not qualify for the summary dissolution, they can still file for an uncontested dissolution of marriage. This is still a much quicker and cheaper option than a contested divorce.
The divorce agreement must be put into writing and approved by the court, particularly if minor children are involved. This document is called a General Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage. This is the document that will lay out how all assets and debts will be divided, the parenting plan and legal custody for any minor children, and child support or spousal support (alimony) if appropriate.
Child Custody And Support
The agreement must lay out the legal custody of any minor children involved, which means the right to make important decisions regarding the children, such as education, daycare, and non-emergency health care. If both parents agree they can share joint legal custody of the children. Otherwise, one parent or the other will have sole legal custody. The agreement will also lay out the parenting plan for the children, including the weekly residential schedule as well as holidays and vacations. The child support guidelines calculator can help determine the fair amount of child support. If the child support is too high or too low, the court may reject the agreement. Another requirement of divorcing couples with minor children is a mandatory parent education course that outlines how divorce may impact the children.
Next, the divorce agreement must touch on spousal support. Alimony may be necessary if one spouse has left the job market for an extended period in order to contribute to the marriage in other ways. How long alimony is required and what type of alimony the couple agrees upon will also be scrutinized by the court. In many cases, alimony is used for education or training that gets the unemployed spouse back to work. Once they are back on their feet, the payments can usually stop.
Division of Property
The divorce agreement will also contain a proposed division of assets. Oregon is a state that uses the equitable distribution model, which means all assets and debts acquired since the date of the marriage are considered marital property. If the property cannot be split evenly, it must be split fairly and equitably. Submitting your divorce agreement as part of your uncontested divorce gives you a chance to keep the assets that matter most to you. The only requirement is that you and your spouse agree on the division.
If you have questions about the requirements of an uncontested divorce, please call Lee Tyler Family Law, P.C. at (503) 233-8868.