The Cost of Divorce in Oregon

Let's Untie the Knot | The Cost of Divorce in Oregon

The cost of a divorce in Oregon varies tremendously depending upon whether the divorce is contested (i.e., initiated by one party) or uncontested (i.e., initiated by both parties) as well as by the complexity of the case.  As of September, 2019 the fee for filing for a divorce is $287.  The cost to serve your spouse usually starts at $40 and can increase depending upon what company you use.  There are two categories of legal expenses in Oregon, attorneys’ fees and legal costs.  The average divorce in Oregon costs $12,700, including $10,000 in attorneys’ fees.  Legal costs include, among other things:  court fees, payments to experts, mediator/arbitrator fees, computer research charges, copying and telephone charges, etc.  There are also less obvious expenses, including relocating and setting up a second household and securing your own health insurance if you were on your spouse’s plan. 

Many parties don’t think about the cost of setting up a new household until they have to do it.  Purchasing new furniture, household items and even restocking your pantry can all add up quickly.  Similarly, many people are not even aware of the cost of health insurance because they have been on their spouse’s plan for so long.  In certain situations, you may be able to remain on your ex-spouse’s insurance plan (although you will be required to pay the premium, meet any deductible and pay any co-pays).  You may be able to remain on your ex-spouse’s insurance plan for 36 months under COBRA if your spouse’s employer has 20 or more employees and you notify the plan administrator within 60 days of getting a divorce.  If you cannot continue to receive insurance through COBRA, Oregon law provides that you can stay on the group plan for up to 9 months following your divorce as long as you submit a written request to the health insurance provider.  Finally, if you are over 55 years of age, you may remain on your spouse’s plan until you are covered by a different plan or become eligible for Medicare if the employer has over 20 employees.

There is no avoiding the reality that divorce is rarely easy and never free.  You should try to minimize every expense in your control to reduce costs.  Educate yourself about the process, try to avoid litigation, keep your emotions in check, be as organized and efficient as possible in working with your attorney and always be mindful that fighting trivial battles is not in your best interests.  It is possible to secure a happy post-divorce future without spending your life’s savings. 

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