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Divorce in Oregon: Understanding the Basic Legal Issues

Any spouse who is contemplating the need to end a marriage can benefit from a basic explanation of the most common legal issues in an Oregon divorce.

2012-10-20
October 20, 2012 (Press-News.org) Divorce in Oregon: Understanding the Basic Legal Issues

Most people understand some of the fundamentals about divorce in Oregon, from the benefits of crafting prenuptial agreements to the challenges of dividing marital assets. Oregon's family law statutes detail those and a range of related issues, from the distinctions between divorce and separation to methods of apportioning child or spousal support.

Any spouse who is contemplating the need to end a marriage can benefit from a basic explanation of the most common legal issues. By further discussing those issues with an Oregon divorce lawyer, a divorcing wife or husband can better assess the complexities of family law provisions in light of his or her unique circumstances.

Divorce, Separation and Annulment: Three Degrees of Change

Divorce, which marks the legal end of a relationship, is also known as dissolution of marriage. A petition for dissolution can be filed in any Oregon county where one or both spouses reside.

In situations where ending the marriage is relatively simple, the parties may be able to proceed using the summary dissolution process. Factors that govern eligibility include length of the marriage, whether minor children are present and the couple's level of debt.

Legal separation allows a couple to resolve spousal support and child support issues without formally dissolving the marriage. Separation is often employed as a temporary solution, and can allow one spouse to retain insurance coverage or give a couple time to consider future reconciliation or eventually bring their relationship to a legal end.

Oregon family law also recognizes the legal concept of annulment, which is reserved for situations where one spouse was incapable of legally consenting to the union or was forced or defrauded into marrying the other person.

Children and Divorcing Parents

When a mother and father decide to get divorced, several important aspects of the future lives of minor children must be resolved by the court. These include details regarding custody and residence of the children, as well as the amount one parent must pay the other to ensure sufficient child support.

If either parent objects to a joint custody arrangement, Oregon law requires family court judges to grant sole custody. Custody determinations involve details about a child's residency as well as important decisions regarding education, religion and health care.

Child support determinations consider the amount of time each parent spends with the child, their individual income and several other factors. As with all legal matters involving children and divorce, a child's best interests must be considered by the court in approving the details of a final court order.

Support and custody details are subject to legal modification if the parents agree or the petitioning parent can prove a substantial change of circumstances. Common divorce modification issues include relocation, loss of a job or significant increases in income.

Must One Spouse Support the Other After Divorce or Separation?

Awards of spousal support (traditionally known as "alimony") are not automatic, and must be based on factors such as relative income, the length of the marriage, each spouse's health and future earning potential. Spousal support can be granted on a transitional, compensatory or maintenance basis, and each has different implications for duration and future modifiability.

Support issues often merge with issues of asset division, and disputes over valuation of complex property, hidden assets or entitlement to pension funds require clear legal understanding. An Oregon divorce attorney can help a client identify potential areas of conflict and explain how each spouse's rights can affect the outcome.

Article provided by Suzanne J. Noland
Visit us at www.suzannenolandlaw.com


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[Press-News.org] Divorce in Oregon: Understanding the Basic Legal Issues
Any spouse who is contemplating the need to end a marriage can benefit from a basic explanation of the most common legal issues in an Oregon divorce.