State law allows ‘summary dissolution’ in simple cases
When contemplating the very painful prospect of ending a marriage, many people wonder whether they must hire an attorney to handle the divorce. We’ll get to that soon, but if it looks as though your marriage will end in divorce, you should also consider professional counseling or grief therapy. Experts remind us that many people experience “dissolution of marriage” as an emotionally traumatic event akin to a death in the family.
Addressing domestic violence
Furthermore, experts and authorities warn that if domestic violence is involved, the immediate need is to address the violence. To that end, Oregon has several resources:
- State of Oregon domestic violence page;
- If you [or someone you know] are experiencing domestic violence: If you are in immediate danger or there is an emergency call 911. There is also a national 24-hour confidential domestic violence hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE. You can also click here to find a safe and confidential shelter near you: http://www.dhs.state.or.us/abuse/domestic/gethelp.htm;
- Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence;
- Locator map for help;
- Domestic Violence Against Men.
Role of the attorney versus ‘summary dissolution’
Back to the question of the necessity of hiring an attorney, a FAQ item by the Oregon State Bar addresses the question as well as some distinctions between simple and complicated cases:
Will I need a lawyer to get a divorce?
If the divorce is uncontested — that is, if you and your spouse agree about all the terms of the divorce — you may be able to complete much of the divorce paperwork yourself, but you probably will still want advice from a lawyer. If the divorce is contested, you will almost certainly need a lawyer.
Oregon law creates a “short form” summary dissolution proceeding for people with very simple divorce cases. If you meet all the requirements for a summary dissolution, you can get the forms at the county courthouse. You can probably do this type of divorce paperwork yourself, but you may want to have a lawyer look it over.
Self-help forms for more complicated divorces may also be available. Nearly all Oregon counties now have family court facilitators available at the courthouse to assist you in completing and filing self-help divorce forms. Call your local court to see if that service is available.
Also, “The OJD Family Law Website provides information about family law services and resources in Oregon, and offers statewide forms for use in family law proceedings. Self-represented litigants should check with their local courts and facilitators to find out whether the local courts will accept these forms and to verify local filing fees.”
Grounds, residency requirements
Other state-bar FAQ items address grounds for divorce and residency requirements:
Do I need a legal reason to get a divorce?
No, Oregon has “no fault” divorce. The only reason you need is that you and your spouse cannot get along, and you see no way of settling your problems. The law calls this “irreconcilable differences.”
What if I just moved to Oregon?
In almost all cases, either you or your spouse must have lived in Oregon for six months before filing for divorce. In addition, the divorce must be filed in a county in which one of you lives.
We can help. If you’re ready to begin the search for a compatible, well trained, experienced divorce attorney, you can start with our free case evaluation. If you need more information, please browse our site, using the tabs at the top of the page.
[Note: Also see “Getting a divorce in Portland.”]
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