Oregon Simplified Divorce: Who Qualifies

Oregon law permits ‘no fault’ divorce. The only “reason” the parties need to provide for their divorce is that they cannot get along any longer and see no way of settling their differences expect via dissolution of the marriage. The law refers to these problems as ‘irreconcilable differences that have caused the irremediable breakdown of the marriage.”

There is a simplified, summary dissolution proceeding available for those with basic and uncontested divorce cases. Those who meet the requirements for a summary dissolution can obtain the necessary forms at the county courthouse or download them off the court website. Although it is technically possible to complete the paperwork without assistance from an attorney, professional guidance is always recommended.

To qualify for a simplified divorce in Oregon, the spouses must meet the following criteria:

1. If the marriage did not take place in the state of Oregon, at least one of the spouses must have lived in the state for six continuous months before filing for divorce, and the paperwork must be filed in a county where one of them lives. (Although it is possible to obtain a legal separation in Oregon prior to satisfying the six-month residency requirement, it cannot be converted into a divorce until six months has passed.) If the marriage took place in Oregon, there is no residency length requirement as long as one spouse is a resident.

2. The couple must not have any minor children, either born to them or adopted, and the wife must not be pregnant.

3. There must be no children under 18 years old (or older students who are attending school).

4. The marriage must not exceed ten years in length.

5. Neither spouse may own any real estate.

6. There must be no unpaid debts exceeding $15,000 incurred by either or both parties during the marriage.

7. The total value of all personal property must be less than $30,000 (not including any unpaid loan balances.)

8. The petitioner waives the right to alimony.

9. The petitioner waives the right to any preliminary orders except for a restraining order to prevent spousal abuse, or an order awarding one spouse the exclusive use of the marital home under the Family Abuse Prevention Act or the Elder Abuse Prevention Act.

10. Neither spouse is aware of any unresolved court proceedings involving the marriage in Oregon or any other state.

To initiate divorce proceedings, one or both of the parties must file a petition for dissolution of marriage and some other documents with the office of the circuit court clerk at the county courthouse. This petition advises both the court and the other spouse what is being asked for in the divorce action.

If the parties are not co-petitioners, the petition and any other required documents must then be served on the respondent (the other spouse), who can agree to sign an acceptance of service signifying that they have received the petition.

If a couple is ineligible for a summary dissolution but are in complete accord about the terms and conditions of their divorce, they may follow a simple procedure for co-petitioners. In this instance, the spouses file a Co-Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The form simply asks the court to approve the terms and conditions that the couple has agreed to.

If you would like to learn more about divorce in Oregon, including this simplified process, please contact us today!