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Contested Divorce In Oregon

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Divorce can be tough on couples and families, especially when negotiations become tenuous. Even the most amicable couples may have a hard time sorting out issues, including property division, child custody, alimony, and child support. Whether you’re facing an uphill battle in a contested divorce or need assistance with other family law matters in the counties of Marion, Polk, Linn, or Yamhill, our experienced divorce attorneys can help.

What Is A Contested Divorce?

If you and your spouse can’t come to an agreement on all the terms of your divorce, it’s considered contested. When you file for divorce, you’re known as the petitioner, and your spouse is the respondent. To file for divorce, you must file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in the circuit court. This document must outline the terms you’re seeking.

The respondent is then served with this petition and has 30 days to reply. If your spouse fails to respond, the divorce is considered uncontested. In this case, you’re entitled to proceed and receive a judgment by default. However, if a counter-petition is filed by the respondent, it means your divorce is contested.

If you’re seeking a divorce, it’s vital to have an experienced family law attorney assist you with filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. Our attorneys have helped thousands of clients with contested divorces in Oregon, and we ensure all documents are filed in a correct and timely manner.

How Can A Contested Divorce Be Resolved?

Although some contested divorces end up at trial, many of the disputes in a contested divorce can be resolved through negotiation or mediation, reaching a divorce settlement outside of court. If you believe that your divorce will be contested, it’s best to consult an experienced divorce attorney before you file or respond to a petition. Having a lawyer evaluate your case ahead of time can save you a lot of time, money, and help you avoid pitfalls down the road.

Filing For Divorce In Oregon

The process for a contested divorce can be complex. Collecting all relevant information and developing a specific plan with your divorce attorney before making any decisions is vital. Our legal team can help you prepare and file your petition and serve your spouse. After they’ve responded to the petition, we’ll come up with a strategy to address the issues at hand. Some of these issues can be life-changing — the outcome of a contested divorce can significantly impact your children, finances, and many other aspects of your life. Our attorneys work to protect your interests and help you understand your rights throughout the process.


The actual contested divorce process begins with pretrial legal motions and hearings. Your divorce lawyer and spouse’s attorney trade settlement proposals and negotiate terms to achieve a compromise you can both live with. Negotiations and dispute resolution services, such as mediation, are valuable tools that can help you avoid trial and settle a contested divorce in a timely manner. If negotiations are a success, your attorney prepares a divorce settlement agreement and files it with the proper court.

Common elements of a divorce settlement agreement include:


If you cannot resolve your issues through negotiations or mediation, your divorce case is brought to trial. A family court judge hears your case and decides what’s appropriate regarding the issues of your divorce. When the trial is completed, the judge issues court orders that address all the matters surrounding your divorce, including child custody and support, visitation, property division, debt, alimony, and any other pertinent matters. If you take issue with any of the decisions of the court, you may be able to appeal, but appeals in divorce cases are usually challenging. Your attorney may recommend that you file for modifications of certain orders instead.

How Long Does A Contested Divorce Take?

The length of time it takes to get a divorce finalized depends on the complexity of your case and your ability to settle disputes with your spouse. Court timelines can also affect the duration of a divorce especially if there are multiple court hearings involving issues of custody and support. Taking a practical approach and being flexible when it comes to negotiations can help move your contested divorce along. Our divorce attorneys ensure that any concessions you do make are in the best interests of you and your children.

Contact Us To Learn More About Contested Divorce

If you’re facing a contested divorce in Oregon, you don’t have to go it alone. Our divorce attorneys at Johnson & Taylor provide the compassionate support you need and top-notch legal representation you can trust. Members of our family law team are fluent in Spanish and serve clients in Marion, Polk, Linn, and Yamhill counties. Contact us online or call 503-990-6641 to schedule a consultation with one of our Oregon divorce attorneys today.