Family Law

Q: What are the issues I may have to deal with in a divorce? 

A: Going through a divorce is very stressful. Depending on your situation, you may have to divide property, debts, figure out custody of your children and parenting time for both parents. Usually one parent pays the other child support unless both incomes are about the same and an agreement is reached to share parenting time about equally. Depending on the facts of your case, there may be issues of spousal support.

Q: How is child support figured out? 

A: Child support is usually figured out by a formula calculated by the Oregon department of Justice. You can go on line to the DOJ and click on the child support calculator to get an idea of who may have to pay and how much could be involved. Sometimes you can’t figure this out until a decision has been made about custody and parenting time. Child support is based on income and the number of overnights a parent has with his or her child.

Q: What is a parenting plan and how do we decide on one? 

A: A parenting plan determines who has the children on any particular day or week. Often parents decide on a parenting plan, and generally, the guiding factor is what is in the best interests of your children. Parents can decide to share parenting time equally. Week on, week off, is a common arrangement when children are old enough to be away from each parent for a week at a time. 

Sometimes, when a week on week off plan is followed, we add in what I call a “Wednesday night pizza dinner” for the  parent who does not have the kids that week. It allows that parent to check in and stay current with the children when they don’t have the kids. 

Some parents are busy with work or school, or lack help watching the children, so they may prefer only having the children overnight for a long weekend, usually a Friday after school until Sunday evening. Every situation is unique. Parenting plans are fairly easy to modify as children get older or a parent’s living situation changes.

Q: What are the steps in my divorce and/or custody case? 

A: Cases start when you file a petition in circuit court, and get the other person properly served. The other person then has thirty days to file their response. After their response is filed, if the parties have children, both have to attend a parenting class. After the class, there is the option of resolving the case and figuring out custody and parenting time through mediation. During the course of the case, the parties usually exchange information regarding property, debts and the children. If the parties cannot resolve their situation, a trial will occur and a judge will make the necessary decisions.