If you and your soon-to-be ex agree on all the terms of your divorce (child custody, child support, spousal support, property division, etc), then a court hearing will not be required. The courthouse has forms that you and the other party can fill out, indicating that you agree on all the terms.
If you two disagree on some things, mediation can often help. If an agreement is reached through mediation, then that can settle things. But mediation is not binding, and you are not required to reach an agreement through mediation.
If no agreement can be reached, then you will likely need to prepare for trial.
Many lawyers, myself included, can assist divorcing parties with the paperwork and agreements. The prices for this are substantially lower than full-blown, contested divorce cases.
Best of luck.
Oregon state law does not require that you and your spouse have lawyers. However, some aspects of a divorce and custody case must be within certain parameters...child support, for example, must be ordered in most situations, and in an amount dictated by statute, even if the parents agree to a different formula. Additionally, a reviewing court may want to be certain that the distribution of assets is "equitable" and fair.
It is often less expensive to fix your own car brakes rather than going to a mechanic. However, if you do not know what you are doing, there can be future costs that you did not anticipate. It is the same with lawyer fees. You get what you DON'T pay for sometimes.
When the parties agree, I often provide a flat fee arrangement, so that the budget for the process is known for certain up front.
Best of luck.
LAW WORKS LLC
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A collaborative approach is a good idea and divorce can be done without litigation, but it is important to get professional legal advice. An experienced family lawyer can guide you through the process, even if you do it in "self-help" mode. You need to get information on hazards and issues in the process (child support, tax exemptions, health insurance, relocation issues, to name a few)
Kramer & Associates
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