Family Law

Attorney Adam Dean provides personalized, expert counsel in the following aspects of Oregon and Washington divorce and family law, including:

  • Divorce and legal separation, both contested and non-contested
  • Restraining orders
  • Stalking orders

Family Law FAQs

Q: How is a divorce filed?
A: A divorce is filed by filing a summons and petition with the court.  In addition, various other forms are required depending on the particular Oregon or Washington jurisdiction where the case is filed.  If you are considering divorce or legal separation or simply have questions about your options, or if your spouse has already started a divorce proceeding against you, we suggest you contact an attorney.

Q: Where should my divorce be filed?
A: Normally a divorce or legal separation is filed in the county in which you and your spouse live.  When the parties are separated and living in different states, various considerations must be considered to determine the proper jurisdiction.  When children are involved, clearly the proceedings become even more complex.  The paperwork can be overwhelming.  That is why we are here to help should you choose to retain us.

Q: How long does a divorce take?
A: Various considerations determine the length of time a divorce takes, including how much agreement exists between the parties.

Q: How are property issues decided?
A: Because both Oregon and Washington are considered no fault divorce states, the fault of either party is generally irrelevant to property division.  Assets and liabilities are divided based on what is “just and equitable”.  This includes real property such as a home or rental property as well as personal property, including vehicles and home furnishings. Assets such as pension and retirement accounts, as well as debts such as credit cards and loans, must also be taken into account.  Various factors affect this determination, including when and how the asset or liability was acquired.  .

Q: How are child custody and parenting time or visitation decided?
A: Generally, Oregon or Washington courts will follow child custody agreements made between the parties regarding the children.  However, a specific parenting plan is required by the court in order to reduce possible conflict in the future.  When the parties do not agree on issues related to the children, child custody issues are generally decided by courts in Oregon and Washington based on the “best interest” of the child.  Numerous factors must be considered in this analysis.  Parties can obtain the services of various professionals who can provide recommendations to the court regarding the child.

Q: Is Joint Custody an option?
A: In Oregon joint custody grants both parties equal rights to make major decisions for the child.  However, the court will only order joint custody if both parties agree.  If one parties objects to joint custody, the court must decide who should be awarded sole custody.  Generally, courts in Washington allow both parties equal rights in making major parenting decisions, which is a major component of joint custody.
In Oregon and Washington divorce or child custody cases, post-judgment modifications may become necessary.

Q: Can I modify my Parenting Plan?
A: Oregon and Washington both allow a party to modify a parenting plan, including where the child lives the majority of the time.  What is required in order to modify the plan depends on numerous factors including the extent of the proposed modification and terms of the original decree.  For example, one must generally show that there has been a significant change of circumstances in order to change custody provisions.  However, in order to modify parenting time, the moving party is merely required to show that it is in the child’s best interest to do so.

Q: Can I modify my child or spousal support?
A: In both Oregon and Washington, a party may move to modify certain aspects of the divorce judgment, including both spousal and child support.  A party must generally prove that circumstances have significantly changed since the last support judgment.  This can include a reduction in the parties’ income as well as changes in the final needs of the parties and their child(ren).