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Jay Bodzin

Jay Bodzin’s Answers

7,547 total


  • Can I have a divorce agreement set aside or canceled? I have Dementia/Alzheimer's. My ex knew it when she sued me for divorce!

    I signed a agreement in 2013 I think it was. It was for a divorce that she filed. Now that I am looking it over---I'm cleaning out old papers, etc.---there are things in the agreement that are not true. Can I have that agreement recinded? ...

    Jay’s Answer

    It's going to be extremely difficult to do this, but may not be impossible. Under Oregon law, the property division terms of a divorce judgment cannot be modified. There is a sort of "loophole" whereby a judgment can be "vacated" (rather than "modified") under ORCP 71, but that generally requires a showing of bad faith, fraud, missing information, &c. - and it must be done within within "a reasonable time," which is specifically defined as less than a year for most purposes. So you are probably unable to change this term now, just based on the length of time that has gone by; but it may be possible to change specific terms anyway. For instance, you may be able to modify spousal support if there has been a substantial and unanticipated change of economic circumstances since the time the order was entered. Child custody can be changed at any time on a showing that the change is in the best interests of the child and there has been a substantial change of circumstances since the last order. If there is no property being distributed or child custody allocated, and the only question is factual claims - as opposed to orders - that you dispute, then it is likely not worth the effort to modify the judgment, unless those findings of fact are causing you a specific legal problem now.

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  • Can I sue the police for mental damages or something of the sort? I feel extremely wronged.

    Man shooting at house, called city police, was in mortal danger, only 50 feet or less from jurisdiction border (about 10 feet if you ask me), police never showed up, had to wait 3 hours for the sherrif to show up, stuck in home under fire from a s...

    Jay’s Answer

    No. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that private citizens cannot sue the police for their decision to not investigate or intervene in any particular case.

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  • Can I still go through the default process?

    I filed the divorce paper. And my spouse responded with only one sentence: No I don't agree with the divorce; we need to work thing out first. Can it still be legally valid as a respond or I can still go through the default process? If not,...

    Jay’s Answer

    If a Response has been filed, however informal, then no, you cannot ask the court to find him in default. The case will be set for trial and the court will make a decision if you can't come to an agreement first. Divorce courts have what's called "original jurisdiction" to decide issues in a divorce case, so (unlike other civil practice) specific issues don't need to be pled in the Response.

    That said, it's important for you to understand that Oregon is a 'no-fault divorce' state. That means that any married person has the right at any time to get a divorce; no particular reason needs to be given, and your spouse can't stop you. So he can't "disagree with the divorce" - that is, he can disagree all he wants, but he can't stop you from divorcing him; all he can do is argue over the terms. These include distribution of marital property, spousal support, and child support and child custody if you have any children together. You should consult with an attorney in private for assistance if you have complicated assets to distribute or children whose custody is at issue.

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  • What are the ramifications if the Petitioner for a Permanent Stalking Order calls the Respondent while they have a TSO.

    Will it make it harder for the person requesting a stalking order to obtain one if the judge learns they called the respondent while the temporary one was in place?

    Jay’s Answer

    First and most importantly: The respondent in this situation is legally required to not take the call, or to hang up as soon as they realize that it is the petitioner calling them. A petitioner cannot violate a restraining order, but a respondent is in violation if they communicate with the petitioner in any way, even if the petitioner initiates the communication.

    That said, the fact that the petitioner did initiate such contact could be used against the petitioner at a hearing on the order. It's not automatically going to get the order dropped, but it could be used to undermine the petitioner's claim that they're afraid that contact with the respondent makes them unsafe. The respondent would be well advised to document evidence of the petitioner's call (i.e., save the phone records, call log on the phone, &c.), and to consult with an attorney in private.

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  • Can my wife take my kids and move out of state?

    My wife is leaving me and trying to move to Washington with our 2 kids. I have a good job here in Oregon and have been the only source of income for our family ever since the kids were born, so I can't exactly move with her and I don't want to li...

    Jay’s Answer

    If you want to stop your wife from leaving with the kids - or to retrieve the kids if they've left, which is harder - then you must immediately file for divorce. You can, at the time you file, ask the court to issue a 'temporary protective order of restraint.' This is not a 'restraining order' that prohibits people from talking to each other - rather, it is an order that requires both parents to maintain the children in whatever residence and daily schedule they had for the three months prior to filing for the order.

    Your wife would have the right to request a hearing to review this order. At the hearing, the only issue to be decided would be what was, in fact, the children's regular schedule and residence in the three months leading up to the order. She could also ask the court for a temporary order of child custody and parenting time, which might change their schedule. The legal standard for that question is the best interests of the children. It is theoretically possible that a court could allow her to move with them; however, you would certainly get the right to some parenting time. Oregon courts tend to favor stability and continuity for children and don't casually let them be removed from their homes. Oregon courts also hold that it is in a child's best interests to have an ongoing relationship and regular contact with both parents. So the law is to your advantage in this situation - but you must act promptly to take advantage of it. If you do nothing and let her take the kids away, and then only want to change it weeks or months later, it will be much harder. You should consult with an attorney immediately.

    I respectfully disagree with the contention that you need a "father's rights lawyer." There are some firms that purport to specialize in representing men in these kinds of cases. Goldberg Jones is the one that most prominently springs to my mind. That said, and with no disrespect intended to them, I think this focus is misguided and likely reflects a little latent misogyny. Oregon domestic relations laws are facially neutral with respect to gender - the law explicitly says that neither mothers nor fathers are favored because of their gender in custody decisions. In practice, of course, it's not always that simple: for one thing, the law does favor the "primary custodial parent" for legal custody of a child, and that is usually the mother, due to the basic facts of biology or the nature of our social institutions (pick according to your prejudices, but let's leave politics out of this). But the point is, if you try to make this about how you must be being treated unfairly because you're a man, that complaint will fall on unsympathetic ears. Decisions about a child's custody and parenting time are made according to the best interests of the child; you need to have that be your focus.

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  • Have the laws changed, can the criminals be prosecution now, what is the statute of limitations on these crimes?

    I am an ordained and licensed Pastor/Minister of the Gospel. In the 1980's and 1990's I was provided pastoral spiritual counseling to homosexual persons who attended local churches in Eureka, CA. Many of the counselee's confessed that they were ...

    Jay’s Answer

    I don't imagine that your ordained position makes you a mandatory reporter of child abuse, as all attorneys, teachers and doctors in the state of Oregon are. If you were, then you would know that when you receive a report of the abuse of a child, then you would be legally required to report it to the state child abuse reporting hotline (unless an applicable exception, such as that provided by the pastor/penitent relationship, applies).

    The statute of limitations in these cases is much longer than it is in most other types of criminal cases. It runs until the alleging victim is 30 years old, or until 12 years after the allegation is reported to the Department of Human Services, as above. (See ORS 131.125(2).) The civil statute of limitations for tort suits can extent until the alleging victim is 40 years of age, for acts of abuse committed while they were a minor. (See ORS 12.117.) So whether the statute has tolled really depends on whether any report has been made and how old the victims are now.

    Note that this law is only a few years old. So it's possible that the advice you got was correct at the time.

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  • Is having the same attorney for siblings with two different mothers hired by the father a conflict of interest

    My ex and his attorney requested for an attorney to represent my children in court. This attorney also represents his older children from another woman. I feel the older children can influence the attorney for my case. Is this a conflict of intere...

    Jay’s Answer

    Probably not. A conflict of interest does not exist just because two clients can "influence each other." A conflict of interest exists when an attorney's clients themselves have opposing interests - for example, if the attorney might learn information in the course of representing one client which whose disclosure would be necessary for one client's case but detrimental to another. In this case, the question is whether the older children's interests conflict with the younger children's. One can imagine a theoretical scenario where that would be the case, but it's not axiomatic. If that were to happen, then the attorney would be ethically obliged to withdraw from representing at least one of them; but in any event, this is not something you could force yourself.

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  • How can I temporarily modify a no contact order issued against my husband?

    My husband was arrested for domestic violence a few days ago and a no contact order was automatically issued. Here is the kicker, I am due with a baby very soon via C-section and the no contact order would not allow him to be there. I am going t...

    Jay’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    You can ask the Court to modify the no-contact order, but the Court is under no legal obligation to do so, and they probably won't. Oregon law recognizes that domestic violence is a huge problem, not only for the immediate parties involved, but for all of society, if only for the costs we expend in dealing with it. The law also implicitly recognizes, I think, that it is very common for victims in domestic violence cases to not want their abusers prosecuted, or to want to retain contact with them. Abuse survivors who decide to report and leave their abusers often change their minds, recant, and go back later. Why this is, is more of a question for psychologists than lawyers; but the conventional wisdom of professionals who work with domestic violence is that such relationships seem to work in cycles of abuse and dependency. I don't know anything about your relationship, of course; but I can say with confidence that there could never be any excuse for your husband to physically harm you, and that you shouldn't have to live with it. Most any victim's rights attorney, DA, or judge you talk to will likely have a similar perspective. There's going to be an assumption that you're in denial about your abuse and that it really is in your best interest for your husband to be prosecuted and kept away from you, even if you don't want him to be. I don't know the full history, of course, but I would seriously urge you to find some counseling or other resources for victims of domestic violence.

    That said, you should not take legal advice from domestic violence advocates. I have often seen these professionals give people really bad advice, that causes problems in legal proceedings. For that, you should have your own attorney. As the victim of a crime, you have certain rights guaranteed under the Oregon constitution. These rights do NOT include the right to have a no-contact order removed. However, they do include the right to be represented by counsel and appear in the case, to be present at all critical court proceedings, and to have input (though again, NOT a conclusive say) into charging decisions. You should consult with an attorney in private and ask about getting certified crime victim status. Your attorney should be able to consult with the DA and see if they can have the order modified on your behalf.

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  • Is there any legal action I can take? Essentially I need to find a loophole and have a lot of luck.

    My ex wife and I have been divorced for almost 3 years. At the time of the divorce, my ex hired a lawyer and had divorce papers written up. They were in her advantage. I did not hire a lawyer, which was a decision I regret to this day. The agreem...

    Jay’s Answer

    Under Oregon law, the property division terms of a divorce judgment cannot be modified. There is a sort of "loophole" whereby a judgment can be "vacated" (rather than "modified") under ORCP 71, but that generally requires a showing of bad faith, fraud, missing information, &c. - and it must be done within within "a reasonable time," which is specifically defined as less than a year for most purposes. So you are probably unable to change this term now. You may be able to modify spousal support if there has been a substantial and unanticipated change of economic circumstances since the time the order was entered.

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  • Would we still need my ex's permission for my soon-to-be husband to adopt my son?

    I was divorced last March, and was awarded sole custody of our son. My ex has supervised visitation which he does not utilize. However, my ex husband isn't listed on my son's birth certificate. We were not married when he was born, nor while ...

    Jay’s Answer

    Yes, you need a biological parent's consent to have someone else adopt their child. However, their consent can be inferred if they have totally abandoned the child for a period of over a year. You'd probably still have to give them notice of the proposed adoption and an opportunity to object. You should consult in private with an attorney who practices adoptions for assistance with this.

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