• What is a “no fault” state?

    Oregon does not require a party to prove the other party is at fault for the breakdown of the marriage on grounds such as cruelty or adultery, to grant a divorce. It is legally sufficient to state that “irreconcilable differences” have caused a breakdown of the marriage.

    In a “no fault” state, it therefore does not matter that one spouse does not want to get a divorce; either person can file a Petition for Dissolution citing irreconcilable differences with the court to begin the process of divorce.

  • What is a statutory restraining order?

    When a petition for dissolution is filed with an Oregon court and served on the other party, an automatic order of restraint goes into effect by operation of law that prohibits both parties from dissipating marital assets, canceling insurances, changing beneficiaries, or otherwise transferring assets to third parties. This is not a physical restraining order that prevents contact between the parties.

  • What if my spouse or other parent threatens to take the children away?

    Upon the motion of a party, the court may enter temporary orders while the divorce or custody case is pending, such as orders for the child to maintain their usual place of residence and daily routine, or temporary orders for custody or parenting time. These orders remain in effect until the outcome of the case.

  • What if my spouse has control of the finances?

    The court may also make temporary orders for support during the pendency of your case, and can also order one party to pay “suit money” for the benefit of the other party to cover costs of a litigation attorney.

  • How is child support calculated?

    Oregon has standardized guidelines for child support, and uses a calculator developed by the Oregon Department of Justice to determine the appropriate amount of support. The primary factors considered under the guidelines include each parent’s gross income, the amount of time each parent spends with the child(ren), health insurance costs, and work-related daycare costs. The guidelines also allow parties to rebut the presumed amount of support in some circumstances, such as other financial considerations for the parents or extraordinary expenses for the child.

  • What is the difference between custody and parenting time?

    Custody is which parent has the legal authority to make the major decisions regarding the child, such as residence, education, religion, and medical decisions. If one parent is ordered to make these decisions, this is known as sole custody. Joint custody, on the other hand, is where both parties agree to share in making the major decisions for the child. Joint custody is only allowed under Oregon law if both parents agree; if one parent does not agree to joint custody, the court will have to order sole custody to one of the parents.

    Parenting time used to be called “visitation,” and refers to the amount of time each parent has the child in their care. This is separate and distinct from custody. Courts encourage frequent and liberal parenting time with each parent, unless there are exceptional circumstances, such as safety concerns.

  • Is it true that courts prefer to award custody to mothers over fathers?

    No. Oregon law specifically states that custody cannot be awarded to a parent simply because they are “father” or “mother.” ORS 107.137 states the factors the court must consider when deciding custody, such as the preference for the primary caretaker and each parent’s interest and attitude toward the child.

  • If I am not awarded “sole custody” of my children, does that mean I lose my rights to them after the divorce?

    No. Custody is the designation of which parent will make the major decisions regarding the children. This does not mean, however, that the non-custodial parent loses their rights to their child(dren). Specifically, ORS 107.154 provides that a parent who is not awarded custody of the child shall have the same authority with respect to the other parent to receive records regarding the child, consult with educators, medical providers and the like regarding treatment and care of the child, and to apply to be the child’s guardian ad litem or conservator.

  • How is spousal support determined?

    Unlike child support, spousal support is not determined using a calculator. The court must consider whether support is appropriate, and if so, how much and for how long. There are three categories of support in Oregon: transitional, maintenance, and compensatory support. The law states specific factors under each type of support that the court must consider when deciding the appropriate amount of support.

  • I have a child with someone, and we were never married. I am not listed as the father on the child’s birth certificate, but I think I am the parent. What can I do now?

    If you believe you are the biological father of a child, you may file a Petition for Filiation with the court to request that a judge decide whether a person is the biological parent of a child, and if so, whether to award custody, parenting time and child support. During a case to establish legal parentage, the court has the authority to order the parties and the child to undergo DNA testing.

  • Circumstances have changed since we got a divorce. Can we go back and ask the court to change the original order?

    There are certain circumstances when a party may be able to file a motion with the court to request the previous judgment of custody, parenting time and support be modified, based on a substantial change of unanticipated circumstances since the entry of the last judgment.

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