The process of obtaining a divorce or in legal terms a “Dissolution of Marriage” typically involves four steps. Each step of the dissolution process comes with its own set of challenges, problems and bottlenecks which can substantially slow down the divorce process.
Following is an outline of the steps to help you understand what to anticipate during your divorce.
Step 1 – INVESTIGATION: Get the information you need to understand your rights.
The first step in getting a divorce is to discuss your case with an experienced Oregon divorce lawyer. It is extremely important that you understand how your individual circumstances will affect the outcome of your divorce. An experienced, knowledgeable Oregon divorce attorney can help guide you through the dissolution of your marriage, domestic partnership or break-up with your unmarried partner. You need to get information to protect your assets and safeguard your rights. This is especially true when children are involved to ensure that their best interests and welfare are protected.
It is important to speak with a skilled family law attorney, even if you plan on doing the divorce yourself. Paul F. Sherman is able to provide expert advice that will help you navigate the divorce process. The Law Offices of Paul F. Sherman offer a free consultation to discuss your particular situation. Call now to take advantage of this opportunity to educate yourself and to protect your family.
Step 2 – DRAFTING: Prepare and file the proper forms.
While there are not a lot of steps to the dissolution process, there are a lot of details. Each court and jurisdiction has its own set of local rules and procedures for the dissolution process. The proper preparation of the necessary “pleadings” is complex and requires the skill of an attorney. The pleadings necessary to handle your dissolution properly are unique to your own personal circumstances and fact situation. As a general rule, each case is required to prepare and file a Petition for Dissolution and supporting papers. Preparation of temporary orders are also vital to your success in the dissolution process. The requirements for the motions and orders to show cause are technical and require an experienced and skilled Oregon divorce attorney. Other forms required include preparation and filing of a Summons, Confidential Information Forms, Statutory Restraining Orders, a Certificate of Residence, Record of Dissolution (Vital Statistics) and the like. You can learn more about the filing process by calling the Law Offices of Paul F. Sherman for a free telephone consultation.
Step 3 – SERVICE: Serve the opposing party.
In Oregon, as well as any jurisdiction on the West Coast, the necessary pleadings must be served on the opposing party. Service is necessary so that the court can obtain jurisdiction over the opposing party. Again, the rules governing service are technical and require the skills of an attorney. As a general rule, the Petition must be personally served on the opposing party who is commonly referred to as the Respondent. There are other ways to effect service when the opposing party is intentionally concealing themselves or refusing to make themselves available for personal service. Again, this requires the skill and knowledge of a skilled Oregon divorce attorney.
To serve the Respondent, a person over the age of 18, who must personally hand him a copy of the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and supporting papers. This cannot be done by yourself or any other party to the proceeding. In uncontested proceedings, it is common for the other party to “accept service” which can be done by themselves or their attorney.
Once service is completed, a Proof of Service must be filed with the court. This filing commences the dissolution process with the court and will generate a trial date and further proceedings.
Step 4 – JUDGMENT OF DISSOLUTION: Get a General Judgment of Dissolution.
Once the initial paperwork has been filed and entered with the court, it is then necessary to finalize the divorce. It should be noted that Oregon is a no-fault state which requires only that “irreconcilable differences” exist between the parties, and is also a “full disclosure” state which requires that all assets and liabilities be fully disclosed by the parties. The disclosure of assets and liabilities is generally accomplished through the discovery process. This process includes the preparation of a Request for Production of Documents, depositions, subpoenas and the like. Additional motion work may also be required to require the opposing party to comply with discovery and to obtain documentation from third-parties necessary to complete the divorce.
Once full and adequate disclosure has been made, it is then necessary to either settle the case through mediation, settlement conferences and stipulations between the parties and their attorneys or to move this case forward to a trial on the merits of the dissolution. The divorce trial involves the presentation of evidence before a Circuit Court Judge. There are no juries in family law cases. The Court will then render a decision following the conclusion of the trial.
In either scenario, a General Judgment is required to finalize the case. The Judgment should include all information dispositive of the marital estate including all assets and liabilities, custody determination, parenting plans and the like.
It is imperative that a proper General Judgment is prepared and filed in your case. The failure to do so can have adverse consequences on the awards between the parties and can result in substantial costs in attempting to correct the Judgment after the fact. In short, it is very important to prepare a proper Judgment which disposes of all assets and liabilities in a clear, concise manner to avoid any divorce problems in the future. This is especially true when real property, a family business or children and parenting plans are involved.
CONTACT PAUL F. SHERMAN FOR EXPERT ADVISE ON YOUR DIVORCE
We know you have more questions and we have the answers. If you would like to learn more about divorce, child custody or any family law matter, call the Law Offices of Paul F. Sherman at (503) 223-8441 for legal advice, or Contact Us for a free consultation.