March 16, 2008

Divorce Myths: I can move to Oregon and file for divorce immediately.

A surprisingly common “divorce myth” we hear in our practice is the belief that you can file for divorce immediately on moving to Oregon (or any state.) Oregon, like most states, has a residency requirement you must meet before you file for divorce. There is a lot of misinformation among people wanting to file for divorce regarding if they must wait to file, and for how long. Part of the reason for the misinformation is because there are a few exceptions to the waiting period.

The residency requirement is located in ORS 107.075. What do you have to do to become a resident? Oregon considers you a resident if you live in Oregon and intend to remain in Oregon. It is where you have the intent of returning after an absence from the state(such as military service, extended travel, school, etc.)

For most residents, there is a 6 month waiting period prior to being able to file for divorce or annulment. For people married in or out of Oregon pursuing a divorce or annulment based on “irreconcilable differences,” one party to the divorce must be a resident (or domiciled) in Oregon continuously for six months prior to filing for divorce.

A much smaller group of residents don’t have to wait. For people married in Oregon, if the reason for your divorce or annulment is (1) bigamy, or (2) being too closely related to your spouse, or (3) being incapable of making a contract or consenting to the marriage because you are too young or don’t understand the consequences, or (4) you were forced or deceived into marriage, you can file immediately on residing or domiciling in Oregon.