Step #1: Meet with an experienced divorce attorney, such as me, to be educated about the process and what to expect from the court. Step #2 either have an attorney prepare & file the divorce petition for you, OR take the court's divorce kit to an attorney to have him/her help you fill it out (in my office you can combine Step #1 & Step #2 into one appointment). Step #3 have your husband served with the divorce papers. If you hire an attorney he/she will handle this for you, OR you can give them to the county sheriff for service. Step #4 exchanging documents relevant to the financial affairs, debts & assets. If you have an attorney he/she will handle that for you. Step #5 try to negotiate a settlement. If you come to an agreement, go to an attorney to have the divorce judgment PROPERLY prepared. Step #6 if you can't settle, go to trial so the judge can make all the decisions. The trial will be held about 6-9 months after you file.
I have written a number of "legal guides" on my profile page of the website, AVVO. They will provide you with a LOT of information. After you have read them, give me a call. I will answer questions over the phone.
Be sure to designate "best answer." If you live in Oregon, you may call me for more detailed advice, 503-650-9662. Please be aware that each answer on this website is based upon the facts, or lack thereof, provided in the question. To be sure you get complete and comprehensive answers, based upon the totality of your situation, contact a local attorney who specializes in the area of law that involves your legal problem. Diane L. Gruber has been practicing law in Oregon for 26 years, specializing in family law, bankruptcy, estate planning and probate. Note: Diane L. Gruber does not represent you until a written fee agreement has been signed by you and Diane L. Gruber, and the fee listed in the agreement has been paid.
A divorce is a lawsuit. To start it, you file a petition with the circuit court of the county where you and your spouse live. The petition has to be in a particular form and say certain specific things. The courthouse has forms that you can use for this purpose, and a few times a week has people available to help you fill them out. If you want to be sure it's done right, though, you should consult in private with a lawyer. If you hire a lawyer to represent you in the divorce, they will write all the forms for you.
There is also a filing fee that you have to pay the Court to file the divorce - $260 in Multnomah County. You can have this fee waived or deferred if you can show that your income is too low to pay it.
Once you file the petition for divorce, you have to have a copy served upon your spouse. You can't do this yourself, but anyone else who lives in Oregon and is over age 18 can do it for you. The county sheriff will do it for a fee of $35 if you don't have anyone you can ask to do it. The person who serves them has to file an affidavit of service with the court, saying that they did it. This is proof that they were served.
Your spouse then has 30 days, from the date they get the papers, to file a response with the Court. If they don't, then on day 31, you can go back to the Court and ask for a 'default judgment' - that is, ask for the Court to order everything you requested in your petition.
If they do file a response, disagreeing with some of the requests you made of the Court, then a hearing will have to be set to work out the dispute. The issues that can be contested may include: division of your property, spousal support, division of debts, and, if you have children together, child custody, a parenting schedule, and spousal support.
Your spouse will have no power to stop you from getting a divorce if you want it. Oregon is a no-fault divorce state. That means that anyone who is married can qualify for divorce just by pleading 'irreconcilable differences' in the marriage - no other reason needs to be given. So they can't stop the divorce - all they can do is argue about the terms.
Likewise, for that reason, your spouse's infidelity, however personally painful, will not even be relevant, unless it has somehow endangered your children or cost you money. The Courts really do not want to hear spouses talking about all the horrible things they did to each other. Rather, they want to get you on a path where you can go on and be all right going forward, as best you're able.
There's a lot more information about these issues than can fit into this little space here. You can read more about divorce law in Oregon here: http://www.northwestlawoffice.com/divorce.html
And, if there are children involved, then the laws for child custody are summarized here: http://www.northwestlawoffice.com/custody.html
I strongly recommend that you consult with an attorney, for guidance going through this process. Whether you need to hire one will depend on whether child custody is at issue, and how much money is at stake. Don't get into the details here - this is not a private space. Talk to someone in private. Good luck.
Please read the following notice: <br> <br> Jay Bodzin is licensed to practice law in the State of Oregon and the Federal District of Oregon, and cannot give advice about the laws of other jurisdictions. All comments on this site are intended for informational purposes only, and do not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. No posts or comments on this site are in any way confidential. Each case is unique. You are advised to have counsel at all stages of any legal proceeding, and to speak with your own lawyer in private to get advice about your specific situation. <br> <br> Jay Bodzin, Northwest Law Office, 2075 SW First Avenue, Suite 2J, Portland, OR 97201 | Telephone: 503-227-0965 | Facsimile: 503-345-0926 | Email: email@example.com | Online: www.northwestlawoffice.com
Divorce No-fault divorce Dividing debts in a divorce Child support Alimony Divorce petitions and complaints Divorce by default judgment Divorce and bankruptcy Child custody Bankruptcy Debt Nondischargeable debt and alimony Bankruptcy and debt Child support order by default judgement Child support and custody Lawsuits and disputes Default judgment
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