Dissolution (Divorce), Annulments, and Legal Separations
Dissolution of Marriage (Divorce) is a way to legally end a marriage. In Oregon the only reason you need for a divorce is that you and your spouse cannot get along. The law calls this "irreconcilable differences."
Legal Separation is an order from the court that can decide issues of property, debt, custody, parenting time, and support while the parties are still legally married.
Annulment is a way to legally void a marriage. You should speak with an attorney if you believe you have grounds for an annulment.
Parenting Education Class
You must attend Focus on Children, a parent education class, if you are the parent of a child under 18, and you are a party in a Lane County dissolution (divorce), legal separation, or legal action to establish custody or parenting time. The class fee is $60 dollars - you may request that the fee be reduced or waived by contacting the Focus on Children program. You may pick up a registration form for the class from the court clerk at the courthouse or contact Focus on Children at 682-2070 for more information.
Child and Spousal Support
Child Support is money regularly paid by a parent to help support a child. The court can order child support to be paid until a child is 18, and in some instances, until a child turns 21. Child support can be ordered as part of a divorce, a separation or a custody and parenting time case. The Oregon Child Support Program can help you with child support. For more information, call (800) 850-0228, or visit the website at www.dcs.state.or.us.
Oregon has guidelines for calculation of support. The guidelines consider many factors, including but not limited to, income of the parents, cost of childcare, and number of children. If you have an attorney, your attorney can help you calculate the child support. For worksheets and instructions contact the Family Court Assistance Office or visit the Oregon Child Support Program website.
Spousal Support is money paid by one spouse to support the other. The money can be paid in installments or all at once. Spousal support can be ordered as part of a divorce or legal separation case. There are three different types of spousal support, and more than one type can be ordered in a case. Transitional support helps a spouse get an education or training to re-enter or advance in the workforce. Compensatory support reimburses a spouse for contributions to the education, career or earning capacity of the other spouse. Spousal maintenance maintains a similar standard of living to that of the marriage. The Oregon Child Support Program ((800) 850-0228) may help you collect spousal support if you already have an order and child support is also being collected.
Custody and Parenting Time (Visitation)
Court-ordered child custody determines who has the legal responsibility to care for and make decisions about a child. Custody can be decided in a divorce, or for unmarried parents, in a petition to establish custody. There are different types of custody arrangements. Sole custody is when one parent has sole authority to make all decisions regarding the child's upbringing. A parent with sole custody is free to consult with the other parent regarding those decisions, but the final say regarding such decisions rests with the custodial parent. Joint custody is when both parents share the responsibility and have authority to make decisions regarding the child's upbringing. Joint custody does not necessarily mean that the child lives with each parent an equal amount of time.
Parenting Time (Visitation) is when one parent has sole custody and the other parent is allowed parenting time with the child. All parenting plans must set forth a minimum amount of parenting time for the parent who does not have custody. Parenting time can be restricted or denied by a judge if the parenting time would place the child in danger, or if the judge decides that restriction or denial is in the child's best interests. Mediation may be ordered by a judge if the parents can't agree on custody and parenting time. If parents cannot come to an agreement in mediation on custody and parenting time, a judge will hear both sides and decide what is best for the child.