Oregon Divorce FAQs:

Steps To File Your Own Divorce:

Step 1: Download our free online divorce forms kit.

Step 2: The person who is deciding to file for divorce must complete all of the required divorce forms. The finished divorce papers must then be filed with the family court in the state where you reside. You can get divorced in a state other than the state you were married in as long as you meet the residency requirements for the state where you are going to file your divorce. You will also be required to pay a filing fee for your complete divorce forms. The fee to file for divorce varies from state to state. Check with your local family court to get the exact cost to file for divorce in your state.

Step 3: The spouce that files for divorce must notify the other spouse that you have filed for divorce by using the divorce forms included in our download.

Step 4: You and your spouse should outline in your divorce settlement agreement the terms you have agreed upon and set forth for one another such as child custody and support, property and asset division, spousal support, etc.

Step 5: After you have completed all of the required divorce forms and have filed them in divorce court, the court will review your divorce documents and issue you a final decree of divorce.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers About Divorce in Oregon

What is a divorce? What gets decided in a divorce?

A divorce is a way of legally ending (dissolving) a marriage. After you have gone through all the steps in a divorce, you will get a divorce decree (called a "Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage"), which is an order signed by a judge. The divorce judgment will usually state:


The date your marriage ends
Who gets custody of the children and when the other parent sees them
Who pays child support and how much
If health insurance for the children will be paid and who will pay it
Who should pay past bills
How property (including retirement benefits) will be divided
If one spouse must pay support to the other (spousal support or alimony)

Do I need a legal reason to get a divorce?

Oregon has "no fault" divorce. The only reason you need is that you and your spouse cannot get along, and you see no way of settling your problems. The law calls this "irreconcilable differences."

Can my spouse keep me from getting a divorce?

No. Your spouse cannot stop you from getting a divorce. But your spouse can contest (disagree with you about) issues in the divorce, such as child custody and support, spousal support, and property division. This can delay the divorce. In some counties, your spouse can ask the judge to postpone your divorce and order both of you to see a counselor.

Will I be able to get a divorce if I don't know where my spouse is?

Yes, but you will have to prove to a judge that you have tried in many ways to find your spouse before a judge will let you go ahead with the divorce. If your spouse can't be found for personal delivery of the divorce papers, you will be able to end your marriage and (usually) get custody decided, but you will probably not get child support or any divorce terms which require your spouse to pay money or do something (such as transferring title to property).

Can I get a divorce in Oregon now if I just moved here?

Probably not, unless your spouse is living here. In almost all cases either you or your spouse must have lived in Oregon for six months before filing for divorce.

Will it take me long to get a divorce?

An uncontested divorce (where you and your spouse do not disagree about the terms of the divorce) can be final approximately three months after the divorce petition is filed and delivered to your spouse. You may be able to reduce this time if the judge thinks you have a very good reason. If you and your spouse have agreed on the divorce terms and both signed the proposed final judgment, the judge can waive the waiting period. A contested divorce (where you and your spouse are arguing about the terms of the divorce), could take much longer than three months because court hearings may be needed.

Will I have to go through a trial to get a divorce?

If the divorce is uncontested (if you and your spouse agree about all the terms of the divorce), you can probably get divorced without a trial. But if the divorce is contested you will probably need a trial.

Will it cost a lot of money to get a divorce?

Court costs and fees are in the range of $300. The Circuit Court Clerk's office at your local courthouse can tell you the costs and fees in your county. If you can't afford to pay the costs and fees, you can ask the judge to excuse you from paying them by filling out court papers that show your income is very low and your expenses are more than your income. If you hire a lawyer, you will need more money. These cases can cost a lot if you have a trial. Be sure you know what the lawyer's charge includes. Keep asking questions until you understand what the lawyer's bill will pay for.

Will I need to have a lawyer to get a divorce?

If you and your spouse agree about all the terms of the divorce, or if neither you nor your spouse wants to contest (fight about or challenge) what the other is asking for, you won't need a trial. You may be able to do the divorce paperwork yourself, but you may want a lawyer to look it over.

If you and your spouse cannot agree and one of you will contest issues in the divorce in court, a judge will have to make a decision about the issues. This will probably require court hearings. If one spouse gets a lawyer, the other spouse often needs one too.

What if I cannot afford a lawyer?

If your spouse has an income that is much higher than yours, the judge may order your spouse to pay your lawyer. If you have an income that would allow you to make monthly payments to a lawyer, talk to different lawyers to see if they will help you. Some legal aid offices do not handle divorces directly, but they may offer classes and materials to help you do your own divorce.

Will there be problems getting a divorce if the wife is pregnant?

No, but your divorce petition (request) should state that the wife is pregnant and if the husband is the father. The judge will want to know if the husband is the father, so that issues such as child custody and support can be handled as part of the divorce. If the husband is not the father, the divorce petition and the final divorce judgment should state that he is not the father. Otherwise, the law will assume that he is and treat him as the father.

What do I need to do to start a divorce?

In almost all cases either you or your spouse must have lived in Oregon for at least six months before you file the divorce papers. If one of you has lived here that long, you need to do three things to start your divorce:


You must pay or be excused from paying the fees that are charged for filing a divorce petition. There might also be costs for having your spouse served.
You must file (turn in) a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the Circuit Court Clerk's office at the local county courthouse. The petition tells the court and your spouse what you are asking for in the divorce.
You must have the petition served on (officially delivered to) your spouse. This lets your spouse know that a divorce action has been started and what you are asking for.

What are the costs for filing and serving the petition?

When you file the petition with the court clerk, you will be charged a filing fee of approximately $300. Each county charges its own fees based on services offered there; call the Circuit Court Clerk's office at your local courthouse to find out the cost and fees in your county. If you have a county sheriff in Oregon serve the divorce papers on your spouse, you will be charged a service fee of approximately $20.00.

What can I do if I can't afford the fees for filing and serving the petition?

Before you file the petition, you can ask the judge to excuse you from paying the fees by filling out court papers that show your income is very low. These are called Fee Waiver or Fee Deferral forms. The judge will then decide if you have to pay at all or if you will have to pay the fees later. The judge can order your spouse to pay the costs and fees in many cases or can order you to pay them either in affordable payments or all at once after the case is over. Court costs are a debt you owe the state. If you don't pay costs the judge has ordered you to pay you can lose money that the state owes you, such as your tax refund.

What happens after the divorce papers are filed and served?

After you have filed for divorce and served your spouse with the papers, your spouse has thirty days to file papers to fight (contest) the divorce. If, after thirty days from the date your spouse was served with the papers, he or she does not file papers to contest the divorce, you will be able to get a final divorce judgment in approximately two months. If a lawyer is handling the divorce, the lawyer will file the papers so that you can get the final judgment. If you are handling your own divorce, the instructions will tell you what papers you need to file and when you need to file them.

If you are filing for temporary orders, such as custody and child support, or if your spouse files a response to fight about issues in the divorce, you may need to have court hearings. If this happens, it could take much longer than three months to get the final divorce judgment. If your spouse gets an attorney, you will probably need one, too.