Entering into marriage is a tremendous responsibility that merges emotional and financial ties. Some of the most important decisions in life involve careful planning and execution. A divorce is no different. Going through the steps of ending a marriage can be tumultuous, and thoughtful preparation is often a wise decision to protect future interests.
When parents have to begin the task of co-parenting and sharing time with the children, it can be an adjustment. One of the primary considerations in ending a marriage is how the children will be affected. It may be difficult to come to terms with the notion of having less parenting time with the children. It’s important for parents to come to an agreement of support and visitation of the children.
Parents will be granted one of the four types of custody in Oregon – sole legal custody, sole physical custody, joint legal custody or joint physical custody. Legal custody refers to parents being able to make important decisions regarding the children, such as those concerning education or religion. Physical custody gives parents the right to make decisions on all aspects of caregiving. If the custody is sole, one parent makes the decisions alone versus if the ruling is joint and both parents share the responsibilities equally.
Child support is calculated according to a basic formula that uses a variety of key data. Some of the points the court uses to assess child support includes:
- The amount of overnight stays
- The number of children
- The amount of spousal support
- The income of each parent
- The expenses of each parent for child care costs, including health insurance
The court will often look at a range of additional pertinent factors to assign the proper amount of child support.
Property division in Portland, Oregon, as well as the rest of the state considers that any debt or asset acquired while married belongs to both parties. This includes the appreciation value on separate property, pensions, retirement benefits, stocks, bonds and real estate, among other property types.
Division Of Property
An item defined as separate property, such as an inheritance or a birthday gift, is typically not divided upon the dissolution of marriage. Equitable division of property doesn’t mean creating equal halves for each spouse. Instead, property is dispersed according to a number of factors, including the expenses and needs of each spouse.
As alternatives to divorce, couples can seek an annulment or legal separation to dissolve the union.
Legal separation is different than a “separation” because you are dividing assets, determining child custody and dealing with many of the same issues of a divorce. The action of legal separation doesn’t dissolve the marriage, however, like in a divorce. This route can be a good option for couples not yet ready to go through the finality of a divorce. People choose to legally separate rather than divorce for a variety of financial or religious reasons.
An annulled marriage is regarded by the court as though it never legally happened. Annulments are granted under specific circumstances and require presenting evidence to the court. Some of the situations that could warrant an annulment include:
- A spouse was not mentally competent
- A spouse was forced into the marriage
- A spouse committed fraud, such as using a person for residency
- A spouse was underage (under the age of 18 in Oregon and without parental permission)
A Portland lawyer can discuss time limits involved in filing for an annulment and the kind of evidence that is needed in court.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is essentially using a neutral third party, often a divorce lawyer or a judge, to work through the details in ending a marriage. . The benefits to this format include avoiding costly trial expenses and having a less formal process than a court proceeding. ADR may not be an ideal method for those dealing with a spouse that is:
- Unwilling to compromise or cooperate
- Abusive, verbally or physically
- Directly in a position of financial power over the other spouse
Additional benefits of ADR include saving time, preserving relationships and having more control over the process and the outcome.
A divorce can be a life-changing event that dramatically impacts the lives of each spouse as well as the children. While there are many options to explore to transition through divorce, it’s likely that one represents the best route for you and your family. Whether you have questions on legal separation or you are worried about child custody matters, a Portland divorce attorney can assist in all aspects of divorce. It’s wise to get trusted legal advice before signing a legally binding agreement.
When choosing a specific lawyer, hire one with experience representing families in Portland, Oregon. Pick a legal professional with a focus in family law, rather than selecting a general practice attorney. Each divorce case is different and, because of this, it’s wise to reach out to a lawyer who can help with the particular nuances of your situation.
To begin the divorce process or learn more about the legal steps, fill out the free case review to get in contact with a local attorney.