It’s difficult when a marriage ends. The task of sorting out the details can be overwhelming. It is critical to have an experienced, compassionate divorce lawyer on your side to help you navigate the process and chart the right course for you, and for your family.
Oregon is a no-fault divorce state – couples are not required to prove that either partner was the reason for the divorce. That does not, however, mean the process will be smooth. Every divorce is unique, and conflict concerning splitting assets, child custody, and support can make the process emotionally and financially draining. Alexis Bishop Stern is here to listen and provide the knowledgeable legal advice for helping you transition into the next phase of your life.
There are several avenues for ending a marriage:
- Mediation – A neutral third-party meets with both parties to help work out a settlement between couples. It is critical to have an attorney involved, as a mediator does not represent your interests.
- Uncontested divorce – When both parties agree on the terms of the divorce, an uncontested divorce can often proceed efficiently. An experienced divorce attorney can help ensure every contingency is accounted for and prepare the necessary legal documents.
- Contested divorce – When the two parties can’t agree on terms, divorce proceedings head to court for resolution. This is generally the most time consuming and emotionally draining path to ending your marriage. It’s critical to have an aggressive litigation attorney on your side to vigorously uphold your rights.
- Annulment/Void Marriage – An annulment voids a marriage, as if it never existed. These issues can be complex, and you should seek the advice of an attorney to ensure your rights are protected.
In some cases, a compromise can be reached without going to trial. Alexis Bishop Stern has the negotiating skills to vigorously protect your interests during the settlement process.
However, you should never accept an unfair settlement. Alexis has extensive trial and litigation experience to ensure you are protected. Her familiarity with Yamhill, Polk and Marion County Courts is one of the many reasons attorneys and former clients recommend Alexis.
If you need a strong Oregon divorce lawyer, call Alexis Bishop Stern for compassionate, knowledgeable legal counsel.
When a marriage ends in divorce, it can be both emotionally and financially stressful. Ideally, each spouse will be able to maintain the standard of living they were accustomed to during the marriage. Spousal support is when one spouse becomes responsible to financially support a former spouse to meet certain needs, maintain a lifestyle, or become self-sufficient. The term alimony and spousal support are used interchangeably. It’s important to contact an experienced spousal support lawyer to protect your interests.
Oregon law permits three types of spousal support:
- Transitional support: temporary financial assistance to help one spouse obtain education or training to reenter or advance in the workplace
- Compensatory support: financial support where one spouse has made a significant contribution for the other spouse’s education, training, vocational skills, career or earning capacity
- Spousal maintenance: the most common form of spousal support in Oregon. Spousal maintenance, ordinarily, arises in long-term marriages and is intended to allow the receiving spouse to maintain a similar standard of living they had during the marriage.
In some cases, the court can order more than one type of spousal support.
There are no standardized guidelines for the calculation of spousal support in Oregon. It is critical to seek the advice of an experienced spousal support lawyer to advocate on your behalf.
If you need an experienced, compassionate Oregon family law attorney to protect your assets and standard of living during this difficult transition, Alexis Bishop Stern handles all legal issues related to divorce including spousal support advocacy.
In cases of abuse or violence, a victim can seek protection by filing a restraining or protective order. These orders prevent an alleged abuser from contacting or coming within a certain distance of a victim. Other actions may include emergency monetary relief, removing the alleged abuser from a shared residence or amendments to custody arrangements or parenting time.
You should consider consulting a family law attorney to file or challenge a protective order of any kind including:
- Family Abuse Prevention Act (FAPA)
- Sexual Abuse Protective Orders (SAPOs)
- Stalking Protection Orders
- Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs)
- Elderly Persons and Persons with Disabilities Abuse Prevention Act (EPPDAPA)
Alexis Bishop Stern has years of experience working with Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) and in criminal law – ensuring the safety of children and families through the court system. Her deep knowledge of the system and experiences with cases in this context can help protect you and your family.
Alexis is dedicated to protecting her clients’ best interests and ensuring their personal safety and the safety of their family.
Complex/High Asset Divorce
Division of marital assets can often be a complex and highly contested aspect of a divorce proceeding. If you are considering a divorce and you and your partner acquired substantial assets during your marriage – including property, stock portfolios, investment accounts, IRAs, 401(k)s, pensions, and other high-value assets – it is imperative to hire a high-asset divorce attorney with skills, experience, and the attention to detail necessary to navigate the complex issues relating to asset distribution.
A high-asset divorce attorney has experience in these areas and will help you enlist a team of consultants and independent investigators that can help identify and assess marital assets, to ensure a fair settlement is reached or to fight for your rights.
It’s important for your future and financial stability to have an attorney examine assets acquired during the marriage to ensure a fair and equitable distribution. You also need an advocate who is knowledgeable about how a divorce might affect your future financial security.
Alexis Bishop Stern is prepared to analyze your complex financial issues, and fight to protect your interests now and in the future.
”Parenting time” – formerly referred to as “visitation” – is a term that courts use to address when children will be in the care of each parent. Parenting time can be an agreement between the parents or can be court ordered, but is always designed to be in the best interest of the children.
All child custody orders must include parenting plans and must identify a minimum amount of parenting time for the parent who does not have custody. Parenting plans can be complex or relatively straightforward, depending on the circumstances.
It’s hard for parents to be away from children after a divorce or separation. Co-parenting can be difficult. Securing the time you deserve with your children is a top priority and Alexis Bishop Stern is an experienced, compassionate family law attorney who will fight for your rights.
Alexis has years of experience working with professionals, judges, mediators, and other attorneys regarding the best interests of children and how that impacts parenting time schedules and court orders. She brings years of knowledge and experience to the table when handling matters relating to time with your children.
If you need legal representation determining parenting time as part of a divorce or child custody matter, Alexis has the knowledge and experience to advocate for your family’s best interests. Contact her today to discuss your rights as a parent.
Establishing paternity, or parentage, are the terms for determining the legal parent of a child. It’s important for all parties involved – for the child, it can open access to support benefits and information and for a parent, it establishes rights to custody and visitation privileges.
If a parent is not listed on the birth certificate, legal paternity must be established to:
- Obtain child support for the child
- Obtain an order for health care coverage or cash medical support
- Protect the child’s rights to benefits if the parent dies, including Veterans benefits, Social Security benefits or money or properties left by a will
- Allow access to the parent’s family medical history
If parents are married, paternity is automatically established. If the parents are not married, paternity general involves some sort of legal filing or action.
- Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form – when both parties acknowledge paternity, this form can be filed with Oregon Vital Statistics
- Declaration in Support of Establishing Paternity form – the mother can file this to establish paternity for her child with or without the father’s voluntary acknowledgement
If there is no agreement on parentage, you can establish paternity through a court proceeding, called a filiation. It is important to have an experienced Oregon family law attorney support you in this proceeding, as establishing paternity can include legal action around child support, custody or visitation rights.
Legal issues involving child custody and parenting time can be complicated and emotionally charged. It’s important to have an experienced child custody lawyer on your side you can trust to handle your case with the utmost skill and compassion. Alexis Bishop Stern is passionate about protecting and improving the lives of children and their families through experienced legal representation.
Oregon family court judges are bound to implement a custody arrangement that is in the best interest of the child. Oregon Revised Statutes (107.137) explains the factors that a judge must consider when evaluating the best interests of a child, including:
- Emotional ties between the child and other family members
- The parties’ interest and attitude toward the child
- The desirability and benefit of a continuing a relationship with each party
- The preference for the primary caregiver – if deemed fit by the court
- Whether either party engaged in any abuse of the other parent or the child
- The willingness of each parent to encourage a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other parent
Determining what is in a child’s best interest can be exceedingly difficult and complicated, especially when it comes to considering a child’s relationship with their parents now and into the future.
Alexis Bishop Stern has a deep knowledge of how the courts determine child custody matters and advocates for clients’ interests through every step of the process. A persuasive negotiator, she can work with you and your co-parent to negotiate a fair agreement if possible. When necessary, she will vigorously defend your rights and protect your family in court.
Alexis Bishop Stern also has years of experience working with Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) – ensuring the safety of children through the court system. She understands that sometimes child custody matters involve issues that present immediate dangers to children. Her deep knowledge of the child welfare system and experiences with judges and courts in this context can help protect you and your family.
Modification of Existing Orders
Life is complicated and circumstances often change after you’ve finalized your divorce or child custody suit. Maybe you get a new job, need to relocate or your former spouse is getting remarried or is unable to care for your child. Sometimes there are changes in the family or with the children that require a change of parenting schedule. If changes are substantial, you have a right to ask the court for a modification of existing orders.
A modification of existing orders may include changes in:
- Child Support: for example, a parent loses a job, or a child requires extensive medical attention.
- Child Custody or Parenting Plan: for example, a parent decides to relocate or there are concerns with safety.
- Alimony/Spousal Support: for example, the receiving party gets remarried or receives a substantial raise.
It may be tempting to come to an oral agreement about modifying orders, however there is no legal protection for you if a former partner or co-parent violates this agreement.
It’s important to engage an experienced family law attorney to help you navigate the court system. Filing for a modification of existing orders can be a difficult process. Alexis Bishop Stern understands the rules and procedures required under state law to modify orders and can help you get the resolution you deserve.
Third Party Custody/Guardianship
Families can be complicated. Sometimes the loving care of children is assumed by a grandparent or other third party. In some cases, a parent struggling with substance abuse or mental health issues leaves a child in the care of a guardian. But what happens when the parents resumes care for the child and severs the relationship between the child and third-party caregiver? What if there are lingering concerns about the ability of the parents to care for that child?
Oregon law protects the rights of parents, both biological and adoptive.
In child custody, guardianship or visitation cases, the best interest of the child is always considered the top priority. In most situations, the court presumes that living with the parent(s) is in a child’s best interest. It can be difficult to challenge that presumption.
Family members or third parties can seek legal custody of children through an Oregon child custody petition. Custody is considered more permanent than guardianship and is harder to change or undo. Typically, a custody or guardianship petition is filed after the child has been cared for by a third-party for at least a year.
Securing visitation rights can be less complicated. Oregon law defines an ongoing personal relationship as one that includes “interaction, companionship, interplay and mutuality” and has been in existence for at least a year. Under this law, an experienced family law attorney can help build a case that demonstrates an ongoing personal relationship exists and secure visitation rights for grandparents or third-party caregiver.
Alexis has many years of protecting the best interest of children through her work with Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) – ensuring the safety and best interests of children through the court system. She has developed strong relationships with judges and colleagues throughout Yamhill, Marion and Polk counties.
Initiating third party custody, guardianship, or visitation proceedings can be extremely complicated. Alexis Bishop Stern has built a career fighting for the best interests of children and families and can help you navigate third party custody proceedings.
Child support is not about you – it’s about the welfare of your family and ensures your child has the financial support they need to grow up in a safe and healthy environment. It’s important to have an experienced child support lawyer to help provide knowledgeable counsel to bring a positive resolution to your child support case.
Oregon has standardized guidelines for the calculation of child support which consider many factors including income, percentage of time spent with parent, childcare expenses, and health insurance costs. Child support orders can be modified to reflect changing circumstances of the children and either parent.
If a parent fails to pay court ordered child support payments, you may need the help of a family law attorney to enforce your child support order.
If you want to change or enforce your child support order, Alexis Bishop Stern can negotiate with your co-parent or their attorney on your behalf. If a fair agreement cannot be negotiated, she will pursue a modification of the child support order on your behalf in court.
Alexis will provide professional and confidential counsel to help you resolve your legal issues regarding child support.
Challenges can arise after a divorce or custody determination that require assistance from a family law attorney. If one party fails to obey the final judgment or decree, enforcement or contempt actions are a potential remedy.
Enforcement or contempt actions may be appropriate when a former spouse or co-parent violates the following arrangements:
- Child custody
- Child support
- Parenting time
- Spousal support
- Property division
What Is Contempt?
Contempt of court is a declaration by a judge that you have disobeyed a court order. In the context of family law, courts can issue sanctions against parties who fail to live up to court-ordered mandates.
What Is Enforcement?
An enforcement action requests the court’s assistance making an ex-spouse or co-parent to comply with a divorce or custody agreement. For example, one parent may not be making child support payments on time or respecting the parenting time agreement. Enforcement orders are less concerned with punishing the offending party and are directed toward getting them to honor the terms of the agreement.
Finalizing a divorce or custody agreement can be complicated and exhausting. After all the work it takes to reach an agreement, it is disappointing and frustrating when an ex-spouse or co-parent fails to meet their obligations.
You may need to reach out to an Oregon divorce lawyer to investigate contempt or enforcement actions. Alexis Bishop Stern can help you navigate this complicated process with the highest level of service and integrity.