There is no substitute for advice from a professional family law attorney. Navigating through a divorce demands extensive knowledge of the law, listening skills, problem solving, and compassion for good people in difficult situations.
Depending on your case you may need to resolve property division, spousal support, child custody and child support. During the divorce proceedings, we will evaluate your assets as well as liabilities and strive to attain the largest possible distribution of marital assets for you. When appropriate, we will work closely with you to guarantee proper financial support through spousal support. If children are involved, we will help you obtain custody of your children, child support payments or develop a parenting plan.
Divorce can be confusing, particularly given the emotions involved. It is important that you have an advocate who can effectively explain your options and help guide you through the process. It’s imperative that your divorce be handled professionally. If not dealt with initially in a proper way, minor issues can become major problems down the road. Our firm has over 70 years of combined experience in Family Law. Please contact Family Law Attorney Steve Palmer to discuss your case. Below is some additional information regarding divorce in Oregon:
Oregon is a “no-fault” divorce state. Two parties can seek a divorce when “irreconcilable differences have caused the irremediable breakdown of a marriage,” and without a showing of fault. It is not necessary to prove abuse, adultery, abandonment or any other fault on the part of your spouse for the court to grant a divorce.
A contested case may take anywhere from a few months to several years to get resolved. During this time, if there is no existing order, the other party cannot be forced to pay money for support, provide for the family, or follow a schedule for your child. Temporary Orders are often needed because the wheels of justice move slowly.
When your divorce, legal separation or paternity case is filed with the court, you may ask the court for an award of a “temporary order.” Temporary Orders, or what courts refer to as a “pendente lite” orders, are used to temporarily resolve issues, such as, custody, parenting time, child support, spousal support, exclusive use of the home, etc., while your case is pending. You can ask the court to order support for you and/or the children, award you exclusive use of your vehicle and home, or provide various other forms of relief all while the case is pending. The other party has an opportunity to object to your requests. A hearing will be held if an agreement is not reached about how to handle issues while your case is pending. The court will then hear your evidence and make its decision on the temporary matters. Temporary orders are not a final decision, but can have a significant impact on setting the tone of your case and affecting the final outcome.
Court ordered mediation is generally required when custody and parenting time is disputed, married or unmarried. You and your spouse will be required to attend mediation and the mandatory parenting class. Mediation is a procedure in which both parents speak with a neutral mediator hired by the court to help you reach an agreement on custody and parenting time. Court ordered mediation only addresses custody and parenting time, not financial disputes.
Private mediation can be used to resolve any or all disputes when you and your spouse are at an impasse. There are no restrictions on what can be discussed or resolved in private mediation. Financial issues such as support, division of assets or debts, etc., can be resolved in addition to custody and parenting time. The mediation process begins by both parties meeting with the mediator and agreeing to reach the best possible agreement for their family in a respectful and amicable way. Private mediation is not best for every case. Depending on your situation or it may be a cost effective way to resolve any remaining issues and avoid an expensive trial, or it may be best to avoid the costs of mediation when a resolution is not within reach.
During the course of your case you will be ordered to appear before the court to inform them on the status of your case. The court will inquire about discovery and what a timeline may be to reach a settlement. Depending on the progress, you may be asked to appear for another status check or have your case set for a trial or hearing.
Full Disclosure of Assets and Liabilities.
The law requires full disclosure of both separate and marital property. The courts cannot fairly determine how to divide property unless the parties disclose all known property. This disclosure takes place during the discovery process and must be complete. The court may punish spouses who fail to disclose property by imposing sanctions, and spouses who failed to disclose an asset may find their divorce re-opened in post-decree litigation.
Depositions are a tool used by attorneys to obtain information from both parties during your case. Depositions seek to uncover information regarding income, assets, debts, and the desired outcome of the opposing party. It also creates a permanent written record that becomes evidence that is admissible in court. Anyone that is relevant to the case can be deposed. People like co-workers, childcare providers, and family members can be called to answer questions under oath.
Depositions are not required for every case, but are commonly used in custody cases and contentious divorces. However, depositions can be a powerful tool in the discovery process and in building the case.
Most divorce cases are settled, sometimes after several months of negotiation and court proceedings. Pretrial settlement conferences with a judge are becoming more common to resolve disputes and obtain input from the court. If you and your spouse cannot agree on all issues in your divorce, then you will each present evidence and arguments to the judge at a trial. The judge will decide on the issues, approve a final judgment, and finalize your divorce.
Trial can be lengthy, complicated, and expensive. The expense is one of the main reasons why most cases are settled before a trial is necessary. Further complicating trial are all the rules of procedure and rules of evidence applicable in any civil lawsuit. Simply having the best case is not enough at trial. The ability to properly present your case is paramount.