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My husband and I have been separated for 7 years, he just had a child with another woman, would divorce be granted by default

Cave Junction, OR |

I left him about 7 years ago because of abuse, I also had no where else to live. I eventually made it out to Oregon. He's in Minnesota, he hasn't really tried to contact me much, but claims that I'm keeping the kids from him. I won't give him our address because he's threatened in the past to kidnap kids and kill me, but he has my email and has not contacted me. I recently found out he had a baby with another woman, would divorce be granted by default. I don't want anything from him, just full legal and physical custody and my maiden name back. I don't know what to do!

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Attorney answers 4


I am sorry that you are going through this, many times you can do a divorce by publication if you don't know where your spouse resides or there may be a like kind rule in your state, but not really default. Chat with a local attny you will fee better. take care.

Legal disclaimer: The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of Massachusetts. Responses are based solely on Massachusetts law unless stated otherwise.


If you know where he lives you must have him personally served with the divorce papers. This is not a default case. You must consult with a local divorce attorney who will explain the divorce process to you and give you an idea what to expect when it is over.

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A "default" is what happens when you file a petition for a divorce (or other lawsuit), have the opposing party served with the papers, and they fail to reply in time. Under the Oregon rules, that's 30 days - if he's served and he fails to file a response within 30 days, you can ask for a default judgment, and get every term you requested in the petition. If he does file a response, then you can't get a default; but you can still get divorced. You just have to determine what the terms will be. You can do this either by negotiating and agreeing, or by having a judge make a ruling at a trial.

Until you get a divorce judgment, you're still legally married, whatever else either of you may do. So you can't marry anyone else until that happens.

Oregon law permits no-fault divorces. This means that no one needs to demonstrate any specific facts to justify a divorce -- any married person can get divorced by stating to a court that the marriage has broken down. No other reason needs to be given. So he can't stop you getting divorced, just argue over the terms. These might include child custody, child support, and spousal support. If you've been living apart for 7 years, and you've had care of your children that whole time, then you're in no danger of losing custody of your children (absent some really extraordinary circumstances you've not described here). That also means that he should be paying you child support; a divorce judgment will grant you that. On the other hand, if you've lived independently all that time, an award of spousal support is unlikely too. You can read more about these laws here:

So there are a lot of issues to deal with. You should consult in private with an attorney in your area.

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: | Online:


Check out my "legal guides" on my profile page of this website. They may provide you with some information that you can use. Also, consult with a divorce attorney in your area. This MAY be a complex divorce. Good luck.

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.

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