How To Prepare For Divorce

Couples get married with the goal of a lifetime commitment. They believe that their marriage will last forever. Although some couples sign prenuptial agreements to outline the terms of a possible divorce, they still do not have an expectation of a dissolution of their marriage. However, divorce is sometimes unavoidable. When one or both spouses decide to end their marriage, they should prepare for the divorce process.

During the course of a marriage, spouses accumulate property, commingle funds, acquire debt and more. In an Oregon divorce, property and debts are distributed between spouses by equitable distribution. As an equitable distribution state, the law divides property fairly but not necessarily equally. One spouse may receive a higher share of the marital property.

In preparation for a divorce, spouses may independently or collectively may do the following:

  • Make a list of their property acquired during the marriage
  • Make list of property owned before the marriage
  • Make a list of premarital debt
  • Make a list of singular and joint debt acquired during the marriage
  • Make a list of property acquired by gift
  • List the financial, medical and educational needs of any minor children
  • List the pros and cons of pursing sole custody or joint custody of the minor children
  • Assess the financial capabilities of both spouses for assessing child custody and spousal support

Preparing for the issues that arise during the divorce process can help each spouse determine what they should seek in the divorce case. If couples planning to divorce are able to agree to several or all of the issues involved in a divorce, then the dissolution of the marriage may occur faster and with both parties satisfied.

Couples with children should also carefully prepare for divorce. A divorce is life-changing for the children as well as the spouses. A divorce may require children to move to a new home or split their time between both parents. In preparation for divorce it is a good idea for couples to discuss and possibly outline their plans for custody.

A divorce in Oregon must follow the laws in the state for marital dissolution. Residence requirements must be met in order to file for divorce in the state. To prepare for filing, the spouse who files must make sure that either:

  • The marriage occurred under Oregon law and either spouse is a resident or domiciled in Oregon; or
  • If the married did not occur under Oregon law, then at least one spouse must have been a resident or domiciled in Oregon continuously within the prior six months before filing for divorce.

To learn more about the divorce process in Oregon visit

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