Filing First For Divorce In Oregon

Oregon Divorce Frequently Asked Questions

No information below should be relied upon as formal legal advice. These answers should not be used in place of a personal consultation with a qualified lawyer.

Does it make a difference who files for divorce first in Oregon?

There is a pervasive belief that a person files for divorce first in an Oregon divorce will somehow have a strategic advantage. Generally this is a myth, filing first for divorce usually makes no difference. The person who files for divorce first is called the “Petitioner.” This is because the original filing is called a “petition.” The party who responds to the petition is called the “Respondent.” There is absolutely no legal significance in who files first. In the vast majority of cases, being Respondent or Petitioner makes no practical difference either. In some rare circumstances, there may be procedural and tactical advantages for the Petitioner (like presenting first at trial), which you should discuss with a divorce lawyer. Additionally, filing first can make a difference if child custody will be an issue.

Often people feel it is a matter of pride to file fist. Discuss this issue with our attorneys and with your spouse so that we can avoid a race to the courthouse and further hurt feelings and unnecessary expense over a small (non)issue.