a couple in a disagreement

Divorce Menu: Breaking Down the Marriage Dissolution Options

When most people think about ending a marriage, they may think that divorce is the only option. However, there are several different legal remedies to end a marriage. Learn what they are and which one may be best for you.

How to End a Marriage in Oregon

Marriage dissolution laws vary from state to state. The state of Oregon recognizes three main ways to end a marriage: divorce, annulment, and legal separation. These three methods are outlined as follows:

#1. Divorce

Divorce is the method of ending a marriage that most people are familiar with. In Oregon, a divorce is called a “dissolution of marriage.” A dissolution of marriage is started with one spouse files a petition for dissolution. This spouse then becomes the petitioner. The other spouse becomes the respondent. In some cases, spouses file for divorce together and would be called co-petitioners.

Divorce can be a bit more complicated when the divorcing spouses have children together. If there are children involved, the petitioner must also file a certificate regarding child support proceedings, support orders, and a Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) declaration. A UCCJEA declaration must list any pending custody or parenting time proceedings.

You do not need any specific reason to get a divorce. Oregon is a “no-fault” divorce state, which means the petitioner does not have to prove the respondent did something wrong in the marriage. The only reason that must be listed for the dissolution is that the marriage has problems that cannot be fixed. This is commonly known as “irreconcilable differences.”

The marriage is officially ended by divorce when a judgment of dissolution of marriage is signed by a judge. This judgment will include all of the judge’s rulings and may state:

All of these decisions can affect your life for a long time to come. This is why it’s vital for you to contact a qualified Portland family law attorney as soon as possible in order to protect your rights.

#2. Annulment

An annulment is different from a divorce because while a divorce ends a legally valid marriage, an annulment states the marriage was never valid in the first place. A granted annulment will make it as if you were never married in the eyes of the law.

Annulments may only be granted in certain circumstances. It must be demonstrated that one party was incapable of entering into or contenting to the marriage. This may be because:

  • One party was not of legal age.
  • One party lacked an understanding that they were entering into a marriage.
  • One party’s consent to the marriage was obtained by force or fraud.

#3. Legal Separation

A judgment of legal separation does not officially end a marriage forever, but it recognizes that irreconcilable differences between the spouses have caused the temporary breakdown of the marriage. A legal separation does still have the authority to divide property and debts, establish child or spousal support, and more.

Those in a legal separation cannot marry anyone else. Therefore, if you want to officially end your marriage and marry someone else, you must proceed with divorce or annulment (if applicable).

Need Help with a Divorce? Contact Us Today

Divorce is never easy, and the myriad of options available to you can make it seem overwhelming. By working with an experienced Portland attorney, you can make a decision that’s right for you and your family. Our team here at Levine Law Center LLC is here to help you through the process.

Call Levine Law Center LLC at (503) 433-8340 or online to schedule a free consultation.

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