How Do I Separate From My Spouse?

Spousal Separation

Those who are considering an Oregon divorce have several options when it comes to separating. Parties typically either directly file for a divorce or they first file for a legal separation and then convert the separation to a divorce at a later date.

Filing for divorce gets the process started faster, but not everyone can qualify for an Oregon divorce depending on how long they have lived in the state. Oregon has a six-month residency requirement to file for a divorce. Thus, one of the spouses must have lived in Oregon for the six months prior to filing for divorce. To start the process, either spouse must file a petition for dissolution of marriage. This formally informs the court of the party’s intention to seek a divorce. After the petition is filed, it must be served on the other party. Once the petition is served, the case will get listed.

The other way to separate from a spouse is to file for a legal separation. Legal separations are common for those couples who have not lived in Oregon long enough to meet the residency requirement. A legal separation is similar to a divorce, in that the judge will make all the same determinations, including:

• The division of marital property
• Determining which parent will have custody of the children
• Working out the details of a parenting plan for the non-custodial parent
• Awarding child support, and
• Awarding spousal support

However, at the end of the process, the couple will be separate, but still married. Thus, neither of the spouses can remarry, unless the separation is later turned into a divorce. This can be an important distinction for income-tax purposes. A legal separation is obtained by a petition with the court. There two different petitions, one for those with children and another for those without children.

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