If you and your spouse have decided to pursue a divorce in Oregon, you likely have several questions about the process. It can be difficult to know where to begin, as there are many aspects to consider and decisions to make. In addition to the logistical decisions you will need to navigate, you may struggle with strong emotions, stress, and anxiety about how the ending of your marriage will shape your future. However, it is essential to recognize that you are never alone during the divorce process. Lean on friends and family members for the support you need, and consider enlisting the services of a trusted and compassionate Portland divorce attorney to guide you through each step of the divorce proceeding. Your attorney will help you articulate your divorce goals and identify the most strategic path forward. Let’s take a look at how the divorce process works in Oregon and how long you can expect these proceedings to take.
A Brief Overview of the Oregon Divorce Process
Some people wonder whether a couple needs to cite a specific reason for pursuing a divorce. As a “no-fault” divorce state, Oregon allows either party to initiate divorce proceedings—all they must do is state that they have irreconcilable differences, and those differences prevent them from fixing the issues within their marriage. You will need to file papers with the court, pay any required fees, and address topics like property division, spousal support, child custody, and child support. The spouses can negotiate these matters through informal settlement negotiations, a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) like mediation, or by taking the case to court. Parties who successfully participate in mediation determine the terms of their divorce and if they are able to come to an agreement on all disputed issues, submit the papers to the court for final approval. Those who seek a divorce in court will obtain a final judgment once the judge has made a final ruling and the judgment has been prepared.
Factors Influencing the Divorce Timeline in Oregon
Many people want to know how long the divorce process typically takes from start to finish. However, just as no two marriages are alike, each divorce requires a customized approach to address the parties’ unique needs. The process can move forward swiftly for some, especially those without children who have only been married for a short time. Other situations may require lengthy negotiations and evaluations before the court can finalize the divorce. Some divorces can be completed in a month or two, while others can take significantly longer than a year. Following are some of the factors that may influence your divorce timeline.
Division of Property and Debts
Divorcing couples who have been married for several years and/or have acquired a significant amount of marital assets typically need more time to address the division of property and debts. If you have a prenuptial agreement, this document can, but does not always, move this process forward more quickly. However, spouses without a prenuptial agreement often require more time to navigate this aspect of the divorce. Oregon is considered an equitable distribution state, meaning the court seeks to distribute assets in a fair and equitable manner (but not necessarily 50/50). The court’s goal is to ensure that the parties walk away from the marriage on relatively equal footing with sufficient financial support to enjoy a lifestyle similar to that maintained during the marriage.
Child Custody Determinations
For the most part, divorces involving children tend to take longer to conclude. Child custody, parenting time, and child support negotiations can become tense, heated, and contentious as parents experience intense emotions about their child’s well-being. Developing a parenting plan that addresses the needs of your child can take time, especially when you and your spouse disagree on aspects of these arrangements. It helps to focus on your child’s best interests and frame your conversations and negotiations with these goals in mind. Whether you are able to arrive at a parenting plan through mediation or need to take the matter to court for a judge to resolve, be prepared for this component of the divorce process to take some time.
Communication Between Divorcing Spouses
A primary factor that influences how long the divorce process may take is the quality of communication between the spouses. While those separating on relatively amicable terms may sail through the process relatively smoothly and quickly, minor disputes may arise along the way. Contentious divorces tend to take longer to navigate, as the parties will need to spend time learning how to express their points of view and divorce goals to one another. Working with an experienced and understanding attorney is the best way to ensure your voice is heard and respected at every stage of the divorce process.
Moving Toward a Brighter Future
The prospect of divorce is often intimidating. However, if you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse remain focused on your desired outcome, you may find ways to make this process smoother and more efficient. Keep your eye on what lies ahead for you—a newly independent future where you can begin your life’s next chapter. When you enlist the assistance of a skilled and compassionate Portland divorce lawyer, you can trust that your best interests will remain protected at every step of the divorce process.
Reach out to Kuzma Law, LLC, at (503) 406-1787 to speak with a trusted and dedicated Portland divorce attorney.