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The following guidelines and definitions should provide helpful information about generally observed Court standards for the State of Oregon. These guidelines are general in nature and are subject to the specifics of your individual case. They cannot substitute for qualified legal advice—if you have questions about your rights and obligations, you should consult an attorney. Licensed legal counsel is available at Divorce & Family Law Clinic.

Dissolution of Marriage: The legal term for divorce in Oregon.

Irreconcilable Differences: Oregon is a “no-fault” state. You do not need a reason for a divorce other than irreconcilable differences have led to the irremediable breakdown of your marriage.

Petition: The first paper you file to ask the Court for a divorce. (Co-petitions are not available at the Divorce & Family Law Clinic.)

Judgment and Decree of Dissolution of Marriage: The final court order which details the terms of your divorce, including division of property, child custody and/or support.

Petitioner: The person requesting the divorce; the first person listed on all documents.

Service: Providing legal notice to the respondent of the pending divorce case.

Legal custody refers to the rights and responsibilities of one or both parents to make major decisions concerning the child’s life, including where the child will reside, the child’s lifestyle, religion, medical care and education. Legal custody may be joint or sole.

Joint custody means that both parents have legal custody. (This does not mean the child spends equal time with each parent.)

Parenting Plan, required by the State of Oregon, a detailed schedule of the minimum parenting time for each parent. The parenting time can be split equally or however the parents agree. Parenting time is not dependent on legal custody. Child support is paid each month, typically to the primary parent. The amount is set by the State of Oregon .

Personal property is all property other than real estate, including household furnishings, automobiles, bank accounts, mobile homes, stocks and bonds, cash, recreational vehicles, appliances, tools and pets (everything that is not real estate).

Real property is real estate including land and houses. Mediator is a neutral third party who meets with both spouses to help resolve your issues without going to court. If you and your spouse cannot agree, Mediation is strongly recommended.

Affidavit: A written statement made under oath and signed before a Notary Public.

Notary Public: Persons authorized by the State to verify your signature under oath. Notaries can be found at most banks.

Qualified Domestic Relations Order: “QDRO” Document typically used to divide a pension according to divorce decree



NOTE: Due to the rules which govern attorneys, NO LEGAL ADVICE will be given over the phone or Internet. You must schedule an appointment to talk with our staff attorney to obtain legal advice. Divorce & Family Law Clinic, Copyright 1998-2004