How to File for Divorce in Oregon Without a Lawyer?

A man files for divorce without the help of a lawyer

Involving a lawyer is often too expensive for Oregon couples going through a divorce since overall costs can reach $10,000 or more. Fortunately, spouses whose divorce case is uncontested, meaning that they have no disputes about essential aspects of marriage termination, can start it without an attorney’s help. If you plan to initiate a divorce without an attorney, you will find useful information on all the steps of such divorce process in this article.

Before You File for a Divorce in Oregon

woman preparing for filing for divorce without a lawyer
Preparing for divorce in Oregon is necessary to ensure you meet legal requirements, understand your rights and responsibilities, and navigate the process effectively.

When you start preparing for your divorce, there are some things you need to take care of in the first place. First, make sure that you and your spouse are in full agreement regarding child custody and support if you have kids, as well as property division and alimony if needed. If you cannot agree on at least one aspect of your divorce, you will likely have to hire a lawyer to represent you in court.

Moreover, ensure that you meet Oregon residency requirements and have collected the full package of divorce forms.

1. Check if You Meet the Residency Requirements for Divorce

In Oregon, either spouse must reside in the state for at least 180 days before filing for a divorce.

If you do not comply with the residency requirements, the state court won’t have jurisdiction over your divorce. In such a case, you will have to wait until the minimum required time passes or start your divorce in another state.

2. Prepare the Divorce Forms

To get a divorce in Oregon, you must file a set of case-specific paperwork with the court. Since you are filing without a lawyer, you will have to search for papers on your own. You can access the forms on the official website of The Oregon Judicial Department, where they all are available for download.

However, before downloading the documents, you must determine first which ones are needed for your particular case. The number of papers to file depends on whether you have children or not, have property to divide, can agree with your spouse, etc. The most common forms required for every case are the following:

  • Petition for Dissolution of Marriage
  • Summons
  • Certificate of Service
  • Oregon Divorce Settlement Agreement

Please note that this list of forms is far from final; you will have to conduct more research to understand which forms are necessary to file and where to find them.

Infographic of common forms for divorce in Oregon

Steps to File Your Own Divorce in Oregon

After you have figured out whether you qualify for a marriage dissolution without a lawyer and prepared your forms, you can start filing divorce in Oregon. The following information will help you to cope with all the steps of your DIY divorce in Oregon efficiently.

1. Complete the Divorce Documents

Once you have collected all the forms needed, make sure to fill them out very attentively. Some forms may include instructions, so you should read and follow them. It is strongly advisable to proofread all the Oregon divorce papers to ensure you did not make mistakes. The court will not accept forms with errors, typos, or missing information.

If you are not sure that you can fill out your paperwork correctly or do not have time for that, you can also order the forms from an online divorce company that provides already filled-out documents, which you only have to print, sign, and file.

2. File the Forms with a Local Court

When your Oregon divorce paperwork is ready, the next step is to file it with the court. In Oregon, you must do it with the court in your county of residence. Also, the state allows spouses to file jointly. In this case, you and your spouse must sign the paperwork before filing.

When you submit the papers to the court, you must pay the Oregon divorce filing fee. The amount is usually up to $400 and may vary from county to county. If you cannot pay the fees at this moment, you can ask the court to defer or even waive them if you qualify for it due to your financial situation.

Please note that you can also ask your spouse to partially cover your deferred costs. Remember that you must pay the fee within the date stated by the court; otherwise, it will turn into debts you owe to the state.

3. Serve Your Spouse with Documents

Wife serving husband with divorce papers
Serving a spouse with divorce documents in Oregon needs to allow your spouse to respond to the divorce proceedings.

Filing and serving in Oregon are two interconnected steps. After you file your paperwork, you must provide copies to your spouse and officially notify them that the divorce process has started. You cannot serve the spouse on your own; ask a county sheriff or any adult third party unrelated to your divorce case to deliver the papers.

4. Await the Response

After serving the other spouse, a petitioner must wait for 30 days, within which the defendant must provide the answer to the paperwork. If the second party fails to answer, the filing spouse can obtain a default judgment in a few months. 

As for the mandatory divorce waiting period, it is currently absent in Oregon, unlike in some other states. Previously, it used to be 90 days. Nowadays, however, spouses are not required to wait any specific time from filing the divorce petition till the case can be finalized.

5. Finalize the Divorce

As soon as your spouse provides the answer to the service, the court can start reviewing your case and set the final hearing date. In Oregon, spouses filing for an uncontested divorce usually do not have to attend the hearing. The judge will review the papers to make sure that all the agreements are in order and finalize your divorce by signing the final judgment. After that, your marriage is officially over.

6. Obtain the Divorce Decree

signing final divorce decree
Obtaining a divorce decree in Oregon is a crucial step in finalizing the divorce.

A divorce decree is a document in which all the agreements concerning your marriage are recorded. You can get a copy of your decree in the court where your case was reviewed. You may also need to pay the fee for the copy.

Is DIY Divorce in Oregon a Good Idea?

If your divorce case is uncontested, and you would like to reduce its overall costs, filing for a do-it-yourself divorce in Oregon is a good idea. However, going through a marriage dissolution process without any help is not always easy and fast. You will need to spend a lot of time searching for the needed papers and all the useful divorce information. Besides, the court may reject your documents if the packet of forms is not complete or filled out incorrectly.

For this reason, many couples prefer to work with an online divorce service that helps to get paperwork at an affordable rate and within short deadlines. Besides, some companies provide a detailed filing guide free of charge. If you choose to work with our service, your Oregon divorce cost will be only $139 for a complete set of divorce papers and instructions on how to file them.

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