Oregon Divorce Laws

As with other states, grounds for divorce and residency are the first hurdle in filing for divorce.  If jurisdiction is invalid, the case will not be heard or will eventually be dismissed.

In Oregon, at least one spouse must be a resident of the state for six months prior to filing and at the time the petition is filed.  Alternatively if the marriage took place in the state and either spouse if a resident, then the dissolution of marriage may be filed there.  The petition must be filed in the county in which either the petitioner or respondent resides.  Below are the Oregon divorce laws that are currently in place.

Who Can File for Divorce and On What Grounds

  • No-fault:  Either party may cite irreconcilable differences between the parties that have caused a permanent breakdown of the union.
  • Fault:  A marriage can be dissolved if one spouse is found to have been incapable of making a contract or consenting to one due to lack of legal age or sufficient comprehension of such.  Fault can also be claimed if the consent of either party is found to have been obtained by fraudulent or forceful means.

Division of Property

Property distribution in the state of Oregon is deemed to be equitable, which is defined as fair if not equal.  Spouses are encouraged to reach an equitable division of property and debt on their own.   If that is unsuccessful, the court will declare the division of debt and assets as it sees appropriate.  The court will assume that both parties have contributed equally to the marriage in the obtainment of property both real and personal.  The contribution of a homemaker spouse as well as the retirement plan of a working spouse will be divided appropriately.

Child Custody

Any domestic relational issues may be referred to mediation or counseling as seen fit by the courts.  Whenever minor children are involved in a divorce, Oregon courts make every effort to reduce the emotional trauma experienced by the children.  A parenting plan may provide a general outline of responsibilities and parenting time allocated to each parent.  A parenting plan must however, detail the minimum amount of time and access that a noncustodial parent can have. This plan can also be more detailed to include additional provisions such as, how the following will be managed:

  1. Telephone access
  2. Transportation, methods for dispute resolution
  3. Residential schedule
  4. Planning of holiday, birthday and vacation planning.
  5. Weekends, also including school an holidays that come before or after weekends.
  6. Any other area of import to the best interests of the child(ren).


Child support in Oregon is based on the Income Shares Model.  The determined amount is divided proportionally with regard to each parent’s income.  Income is verified by past W-2’s and child support worksheets.

All terms involving the children, such as support and parenting time, or visitation, are designed for the benefit of the children, not the parents.  If no visitation is granted, support must still be paid, conversely, visitation orders must be complied with even if the custodial parent is not receiving child support.