How Long Does A Divorce Take?

Let's Untie the Knot | How Long Does A Divorce Take?

There is no single answer to the question of how long a divorce takes.  In Oregon, a divorce (also called a dissolution) generally takes between six and twelve months from the date your divorce is filed until your divorce is final.  As of September, 2019, the filing fee for each party in a divorce is $287 and the cost for the filing party to serve the non-filing party in a contested divorce starts at $40.  Oregon is one of many states in the United States that uses a “no-fault” divorce model.  This means that the court does not consider the specific reasons you are seeking a divorce.  The court’s sole requirement for granting a party a divorce is that the spouses have “irreconcilable differences” and no longer want to remain married.

A divorce in Oregon is begun in one of two ways: (1) one spouse files the case as a sole petitioner (also known as a “contested divorce”), or (2) the two spouses file the case as co-petitioners (also known as an “uncontested divorce”).  Spouses file as co-petitioners when they agree on all matters that the court would otherwise decide, such as child custody, alimony and property division.  In general, uncontested divorces are finalized sooner than contested divorces because there are less issues for the court to decide.

Filing as a Sole-Petitioner:  The Contested Divorce

When a party files as a sole petitioner, he or she files a petition for dissolution and the non-filing spouse (the “respondent”) is served with the divorce papers and must file a response within 30 days.  In the response, the respondent will state whether he or she contests the relief sought in the petition.  Contested divorces almost always take longer than uncontested divorces because courts have to decide contentious issues like property division, child support and spousal support.

Filing as Co-Petitioners:  The Uncontested Divorce

Parties can decide to file as co-petitioners when they agree on all matters the court would otherwise decide.  If the parties do, in fact, agree on all the issues, the divorce process should be relatively pain free and may not even require that the parties obtain representation by attorneys.  While this may seem like a preferable alternative in terms of cost, it is advisable to at least consult with an attorney to make sure you understand your rights and what is at stake. 

Parties may try to expedite the process and limit costs through mediation.  Mediation is one or more private counseling sessions in which a trained professional attempts to help the parties reach an agreement.  All mediation sessions are private and confidential.  If the parties are able to reach an agreement on some or all of the issues through mediation, it may save them a great deal of time and money.

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