Law Offices of W. George Senft

Family Law

We at the Law Office of W. George Senft understand the emotionally demanding reality of Family Law, and we have your back. Difficult decisions have a lifetime impact on you and your loved ones. Family law attorney, W. George Senft, will represent your interests in court without compromise.

Below you will find a summary of the divorce process and explanations of terms you will encounter during your divorce process.

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Filing for Divorce in Oregon

A divorce is initiated by the filing of the Summons and Petition of Dissolution in the Circuit Court. If you file, your spouse will be personally served with the Summons and the Petition. Your spouse will be given notice to file a response within 30 days. You will receive a default judgment granting the requests you made in the petition if your spouse fails to respond.

In the case that your spouse files responsive pleadings, the case will go to trial unless you can agree to a settlement. To commence a divorce proceeding in Oregon, you or your spouse must have been a resident of Oregon for at least six months prior to the filing of the petition.

If your spouse fails to respond, you will receive a default judgment granting the requests made in the Petition. The case will go to trial if your spouse files responsive pleadings unless the two of you agree to a settlement.

Divorce Forms

The process of obtaining information consists of documents of income, assets and other relevant issues. This information properly litigates or settles a case. The most common forms of discovery are depositions, production requests, and subpoenas.

Temporary Relief

It is often necessary to obtain temporary relief after the commencement of the case, before the final judgment. Examples are temporary support, custody or other relief, i.e. the exclusive use of the family residence.

Custody Overview

Child custody determines which spouse will have primary care of the children. It also refers to a parent’s right to make important decisions related to the health, welfare, and education of the children.

If both parties agree to it, joint custody will be granted. Otherwise, one parent will be awarded custody and the non-custodial parent will receive partial parenting time. In making this decision, a judge will consider what is in the best interest of the child. Before making a final child custody decision, parents must attend mandatory mediation.

Child Support

The obligation of one parent to pay support to the other parent for the maintenance of the child. The amount of child support is determined by child support guidelines. This statutory formula considers factors like the parents’ gross income, the cost of health insurance or day care and the overnight parenting time with the child.

Types of Alimony

Spousal Support is the obligation of one spouse to pay a just and equitable amount of alimony to the other spouse. Transitional spousal support is awarded to the receiving spouse for the training and education to become employable.

There is also maintenance spousal support, which maintains the marital living standard. Compensatory spousal support compensates for the spouse’s contribution to the other’s education and career.

Divorce Mediation

The marital dissolution is an adversarial proceeding in which the lawyer advocates the client’s interest. Mediation is an alternative in which the parties seek to end the marriage in a non-hostile manner. The mediator, a neutral person, helps the parties to reach a fair agreement.

Dividing Property & Debt in Oregon

The judge will order a “just and proper” division of assets unless the parties agree to a division of their property and liabilities.

Divorce Decree Modifications

In the case that an unanticipated change of circumstance occurs, support and custody orders can be modified. The parent that is relocating must prove that the requested change is in the best interest of the child in order to modify parenting time.

Prenuptial Agreement

A premarital agreement between the prospective spouses made in contemplation of marriage. This agreement addresses the division of assets among other issues.

Dissolving a Domestic Partnership in Oregon

The law defines a domestic partnership as “the civil contract entered into in person between two individuals of the same sex who are at least 18 years of age, who are otherwise capable and at least one of whom is a resident of Oregon.”

Once the domestic partnership is registered, the laws that apply to a dissolution of marriage also apply to the dissolution of the domestic partnership.

Third Party Rights

A third party can obtain custody or visitation upon the showing of a child-parent relationship or an ongoing relationship. An example of a third party would be a grandparent.