A “separation” in Oregon is the legal term used to define the legal relationship between two previously married parties when they wish to terminate their legal relationship. A “judgment of separation” in Oregon may be issued when irreconcilable differences between the parties have caused the temporary or unlimited breakdown of the marriage.
A legal separation may be for a limited or unlimited duration of time. You cannot marry someone else if you are legally separated and not yet divorced. A legal separation proceeding may be changed to a divorce proceeding at a later date. A legal separation judgment can also be vacated or set aside so it is no longer in effect.
The main difference between a legal separation and a divorce is that spouses are still married after a legal separation. Like a divorce, a legal separation judgment can establish custody, parenting time, and child support. In certain circumstances, the judgment can also divide property and debts and establish spousal or partner support. The court costs, timelines, and requirements for mediation and parenting classes are generally the same as with a divorce. With an annulment, the marriage is “void,” as if it never happened. The filing fees for an annulment in Oregon are the same for a divorce or a separation.
A suit for separation may be filed only in a county in Oregon where one of the parties to the suit lives. At least one of the parties in a separation action must live in Oregon when the suit is commenced. Unlike a Divorce in Central Oregon, no period of residence within the state is required before filing a suit for separation. The parties need not have been married in Oregon to establish jurisdiction in Oregon.
A legal separation during a marriage or a Registered Domestic Partnership is started when one spouse or partner files a “Petition for Separation.” The spouse or partner who files the petition is called the “Petitioner.” The other spouse or partner is called the “Respondent.” Both parties can file a joint petition, in which case they are the “Co-Petitioners.” The duration of the separation may be unlimited, permanent, or for a specific period. The separation ends when a “Judgment of Separation” is entered with the court. Either party may, within two years after a judgment of separation is entered, move to convert the “Judgment of Separation” into a “Judgment of Dissolution.” A legal separation judgment can also be vacated or set aside so it is no longer in effect.
Like a divorce, a legal “Judgment of Separation” may establish custody, parenting time, and child support. The “Judgment of Separation” may also divide property and debts and establish spousal or partner support.
This can be a complicated area of the law. For more information, please contact Attorney Joseph Harder at Baxter Harder, LLC.