A Divorce is a legal proceeding starting with a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and ending with a Judgment or Decree of Dissolution of Marriage signed by a Judge. The process of obtaining a divorce can often take some time. An average divorce takes about eight months. Some divorces take less time, and some take more time. Divorces are usually completed more quickly the more the two parties can agree on how to resolve the various aspects of their divorce proceeding.
Most divorce cases have the same major issues to resolve. The first issue is Property Division. Oregon is not a community property state, and Washington is a community property state. However, Oregon’s presumption of equal contribution of marital assets will often result in the same distribution of the assets as Washington’s community property laws. Most often, if it is a long marriage, property is divided 50/50. When it is a short marriage, property may not be divided 50/50. Property may not be divided 50/50 when there has been significant property owned by one or both parties prior to the marriage, or when there has been a gift or inheritance received during the marriage. In addition, when there is a prenuptial agreement between the parties, the parties usually have agreed before marriage to keep most of their assets separate. In your case, we will make sure to address all of these possible scenarios. In addition, we will work closely with you to properly value all of the assets of the marriage. We have experience with valuing all types of assets such as businesses, real estate, non-traditional retirement assets, and restricted stock units.
The second issue to resolve is often whether or not to award spousal support or spousal maintenance to one of the parties and if so, how much and for how long. Spousal support or spousal maintenance is often awarded when one of the parties has remained out of the workforce to care for children for a significant period of time and has been supported financially by the other party. When both parties are employed full time, and their incomes are similar, spousal support would probably not be ordered.
If there are children, the third issue to resolve is Custody and the Parenting Plan. Today most parents share time with their children. The old model, where one parent had the children most of the time and the other parent only had the children every other weekend is rarely used anymore. In fact, in Clark county Washington, there is a local rule that the parties evenly divide the summer with their children unless there is good cause not to do that. Most counties in Oregon require every divorcing party with children to take a parenting class. This class is about working together as co-parents post divorce for the sake of the children. There are as many parenting plans as there are families. We can work together to find the right parenting plan for your family. Child support is calculated by a child support calculator. Oregon and Washington each have their own child support calculators.
Most cases do not end up in Court. Most cases are settled. There are a variety of ways to reach settlements. Mediation is a common method for reaching a settlement. Collaborative law is one of the newest methods of resolving family law cases. We will use the best methods available to us to resolve your divorce case. If we are unable to reach a fair settlement, we are experienced trial attorneys who will fight for your rights in court. Your divorce case will be in good hands.