Well over half of all uncontested divorces in the U. Also referred to as "pro se" or "in pro per," representing yourself is a do-able task when you have access to up-to-date, state-specific legal forms and reasonably detailed instructions.
Answering a Divorce Petition - FindLaw
However, whether you hire an attorney or represent yourself, there are times when it will be necessary to amend, or fix, and then re-file, one or more documents in order to get your divorce finalized. Changes in address, employment, income, matters concerning the care and custody of children, and distribution of property and debts, are the most common reasons why you may need to file an amended document.
Another common reason for an amendment is missing information. This usually happens in one of two ways. Either the filer failed to provide information requested on the form, or the judge requires certain additional information that wasn't included when the document was initially filed with the Court Clerk's office. Occasionally, a judge may even want something removed from a document.
Usually, it will be the judge or the Court Clerk's office that advises you of the need to amend. Either you will be told of a problem at the time of filing or during your court hearing, if one is required in your state, or you will receive a written notice in the mail advising you that there is a problem with your documents. Some written notices are extremely detailed and make it clear what changes are needed.
In those instances, the amendment is little more than a matter of editing your existing document and refiling it. If this is the case, you can look up the code section and read it. Sometimes, the citation is to a very lengthy law or court rule, which makes it less helpful, but often, it takes you to a very specific section of law that you can then compare to the applicable sections of your documents in an effort to diagnose the problem. The following are among the most common mistakes people make that lead to the need to amend a document:.
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Note that amending applies only after you have filed a legal document and have determined that changes are needed. If you haven't yet filed the document, you simply need to make your changes before you file it to avoid problems. For any other amended documents that aren't initiating pleadings, it should be sufficient to just mail a copy to your spouse. Certified mailing with a green return-receipt requested probably isn't necessary, but it does give you the peace of mind of having something to show the Court the return-receipt signed by your spouse should compliance with service requirements ever become an issue.
The more issues you and your spouse disagree about, the more work your lawyer will have and the more expenses you will have. Ask your lawyer to explain fee and billing procedures at your first conference.
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Sometimes a lawyer will agree to represent you on a payment plan or other arrangement, especially if you own a house that has some equity in it. If your income would allow you to make monthly payments to a lawyer, you can call the Oregon State Bar Lawyer Referral Service for help finding a lawyer who offers payment plans. The number to call is from the Portland area, or from elsewhere in Oregon.
How long does it take to get a divorce? The length of time it will take you to get a divorce depends mostly on the complexity of your case. If you are filing for temporary orders, such as custody and child support, or if you and your spouse dispute the issues in the divorce, you may need to have court hearings. Court timelines can affect how long it takes to get the final divorce judgment and many courts require divorce cases to be resolved within one year of filing the petition.
Can I take back my former name? The judge must give you back a former name if you ask for it in a divorce.
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What is mediation? Mediation is one or more private counseling sessions in which a trained person tries to help you and your spouse reach an agreement. Most, if not all, counties offer this as a free service through the courts. The judge will probably order both of you to go to mediation in an attempt to agree on divorce issues such as child custody, and parenting time. Some counties allow you to mediate support and property division as well. If this process is not appropriate for you because of safety or other concerns, you may ask that the requirement be waived.
All mediation proceedings are private and confidential.
Neither party is required to agree to any solutions proposed by the mediator. If you are able to reach agreement on some or all of the issues, a written summary of that agreement is usually sent to the lawyers by the mediator. If you and your spouse cannot agree and one of you will challenge the divorce issues in court, a judge will have to make a decision about the issues. Temporary orders may be issued concerning custody, support, parenting time and costs before your divorce trial. A custody decision may be made prior to a decision on any other issue.
What is a legal separation? A legal separation is a court order that states who gets custody of the children, who pays support for the children, whether spousal support is ordered, and who gets what property. You might want a legal separation if your religious beliefs prohibit divorce or if you or your spouse have not lived in Oregon long enough to file for divorce.
Divorce in Oregon
A legal separation costs about the same as a divorce. Filing for legal separation does not prevent a divorce from being filed. The main difference between a legal separation and a divorce is that you are still married after a legal separation. Therefore, you may still have the right to inherit property from your spouse if you are legally separated, unless the separation judgment says otherwise.
If you are divorced, you lose that right. Legal Editor: Erin K. Fitzgerald, April Translate this page:. This information is not intended to be legal advice regarding your particular problem, and it is not intended to replace the work of an attorney. Problem Solvers Problem Solvers Info.