By the time you file for divorce, your relationship is already over. As such, it’s only natural to want your divorce finalized as quickly as possible.
Unfortunately, divorcing your spouse is a complex legal procedure that takes time. Here’s how long divorces may take in Oregon, what makes them take so long, and how to keep your split on track so you can start your new single life sooner rather than later.
How Long Do Divorces Take on Average?
According to a study by Martindale-Nolo Research, the average length of a divorce is between 10 and 18 months. However, 39% of all couples finalized their splits in six months or less. The average is dragged higher by the number of people whose splits take 18 months or longer.
The number of disputes involved is the biggest factor that impacts the length of a divorce. The national average for uncontested splits, or those with no conflicts, is just eight months. Meanwhile, couples with a single dispute took 12 months to finalize their divorces. People with three or more contested issues took 16 months to end their marriages.
In other words, collaboration is key to keeping your divorce on schedule. The more you can work with your spouse, the less time your split will take.
Does Oregon Have a Divorce Waiting Period?
If you live in Oregon, your divorce may take even less time. Unlike nearby states like California, Oregon has no divorce waiting period. Theoretically, divorces can be finalized just a few days or weeks after they are first filed. As such, the average length of uncontested divorces is lower than the national median.
However, the lack of a waiting period does not mean every split can be completed overnight. There are a few restrictions on the process that mean even the simplest divorces take time. These include legal concerns such as:
- Residency requirements: You cannot file for divorce in Oregon until you or your spouse has lived in the state for at least six months. While you can file for a legal separation and later convert that into a divorce, the state cannot legally end your marriage until the residency requirement is met.
- Waiting for a response to your petition: After you file your dissolution of marriage petition, your spouse has up to 30 days to respond. The proceedings cannot continue until they respond or the 30-day window expires.
- Scheduling hearings or mediation: If you have any disagreements on how to split your assets, assign child custody, or otherwise handle the end of your marriage, you’ll need to attend court hearings or mediation to resolve them. Scheduling these meetings can extend the process by weeks or even months.
Even if you and your partner remain amicable, the administrative elements of getting divorced often cause the process to take at least a few months.
Strategies to Keep Your Divorce on Track
While there’s no magic trick to end your marriage overnight, there are techniques that can prevent it from dragging on. The following four strategies make it easier to finalize things efficiently in Oregon.
Prepare Before You File
If you know you want to file for divorce, some advanced preparation can make all the difference. You can prepare by doing things like:
- Examining your finances and collecting bank statements, pay stubs, and tax returns
- Figuring out what property you’d prefer to keep and what you’re okay with splitting or selling
- Developing a budget to determine if you will need spousal support to maintain your standard of living
- Considering how you’ll divide child custody, if necessary
Identifying your priorities and having critical documents on hand can significantly reduce how long things take. You will have everything you need to file a complete petition and financial disclosure and avoid wasting time once the proceedings have begun.
If you can, make it a point to cooperate with your spouse. As we mentioned earlier, the single biggest factor in the length of a divorce is the number of disputes involved. The more issues you can resolve through negotiation or mediation, the fewer you must handle through the courts.
Of course, cooperation isn’t always possible. If your spouse refuses to work together, if they try to take advantage of you when negotiating, or if meeting with them puts you in danger, continuing to collaborate will not work. It’s better for your split to take a little longer than to risk your safety or financial security on unproductive negotiations.
While you can’t force your spouse or the family court system to work faster, you can control your responses. Once your split is underway, it is in your best interest to submit the necessary documents promptly. The longer it takes to submit paperwork like your financial disclosure, the longer it will be before your divorce can be finalized.
Work With a Skilled Lawyer
You do not have to handle the many demands of divorce alone. In fact, trying to do so can make the entire process take longer. You may miss deadlines or make mistakes in your submissions that could cause things to drag out months longer than necessary.
Instead, contact an experienced Oregon divorce lawyer to help you with your case. Your attorney will help you understand what’s required of you and the best path forward to keep your split on track. At Regele Law, LLC, we can help. Our skilled attorneys are dedicated to providing efficient, compassionate family law representation to families around Salem, Oregon. We understand the demands of ending your marriage and are prepared to help you keep things moving. Don’t waste any more time. Schedule your consultation today to kickstart your divorce.