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Family Law FAQ

I am family law attorney Shelley L. Fuller, and I handle a broad range of family law and divorce matters for clients throughout the Portland area. On this page, I will answer some frequently asked questions about Oregon family law. For Oregon divorce information and answers about your specific case, please contact my Beaverton law firm today or call 503-626-1808 to schedule a consultation.

Answers To Your Family Law Questions

Q: How long does a divorce take?

A: It depends on the level of conflict and the complexity of the divorce. If both parties agree on everything, it can take as little as around a month. If there are children involved or complex property division matters, it can take much longer. If you cannot agree on divorce issues, it can take up to a year. Trial courts are currently mandated to finalize all family law cases within one year of filing. It is therefore unusual for cases to go beyond the one year mark from filing.

Sidenote – I have, on several occasions, had parties come to me with a full agreement as to all terms of a divorce. In their case, we were able to draft the divorce documents from beginning (Petition) to end (Stipulated General Judgment) and have it filed and finalized in less than a week.

Q: How much does a divorce cost?

A: Again, it depends on the level of conflict and the complexity of the divorce. While no divorce is inexpensive, an experienced, efficient attorney can help you resolve your divorce in a relatively cost-effective manner. Family law cases generally require a retainer to be deposited into the lawyer trust account. These can range from $1500 to $5000 depending on the complexity of the case. This is something to be discussed at a consultation with the attorney.

Q: How is child support determined?

A: In Oregon, child support is determined by a set of guidelines and calculator located here that take into account factors such as the number of children, the parties income, spousal support payments, number of overnights each parent has with the children and payment of day care and health insurance premiums.

Q: Can a dissolution of a domestic partnership contain spousal support orders?

A: No, domestic partnerships can address custody, child support and property division, but not spousal support.

Q: At what age are children allowed to decide where they live?

A: There is no specific age at which courts deem children in Oregon able to make decisions regarding custody and visitation. These issues are handled on a case-by-case basis. There does seem to be a general consensus that teenagers should be given more latitude to give input into these situations but custodial parents are well advised to not withhold visitation with the child from the non-custodial parent without first carefully considering to possible consequences of not complying with a current visitation plan.

Q: In a relocation, does the custodial parent need the consent of the other parent before he or she can move with the child?

A: No. The custodial parent need only give reasonable notice of the move. That being said, if the move will impact the other parent’s visitation with the child, the relocating parent should speak to an attorney about the advisability of being proactive and modifying the other parent’s parenting time plan before relocating.

Q: If the custodial parent needs to move away for a job opportunity, will the court allow a relocation?

A: The overriding concern in custody cases is protecting the best interests of the child. The parent's needs are not a deciding factor. The court may allow the move, but the analysis for the court is why this move is in the child’s best interest and not the parent’s.

Q: Can I get joint custody of my child if the other parent won’t agree?

A: No, you can’t. Oregon law prohibits a court from ordering joint legal custody of a child over the objection of one parent. If both parents won’t agree to joint custody, the court must determine the best interests of the child and award sole legal custody to one parent.

Q: Does joint custody mean equal parenting time for both parents? Or does sole legal custody mean she is taking my child away from me and I don’t get to see her/him?

A: Legal Custody, be it sole or joint, is about who has the authority to make major legal decisions for the child. These generally include decisions surrounding medical and dental care, child care, school, and religious upbringing. It does not indicate how much time a noncustodial parent will have or not have with their child. Hence, joint custody does not mean equal parenting time. Just equal decision making authority.

Contact My Law Office Today: 503-626-1808 | Email

If you are struggling with a family law issue in Oregon, I am prepared to protect your rights. To schedule a consultation, contact my law firm online or call us at 503-626-1808.

This website is designed to provide the reader with information about family law and divorce issues in Oregon. It should not be used as a substitute for advice given by a lawyer to a client during an office consultation.

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