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Salem Family Law Blog

The link between identity theft and divorce

If your marriage has come to end, you may be facing all sorts of uncertainties. On the one hand, you could be worried about your financial future, whether you are unsure about child support payments or property division. Or, perhaps you have concerns about custody or visitation. We also know that people can run into problems with their former spouse. Although many people have encountered strong emotions and verbal disputes, some people have been hit with additional hardships, such as becoming an identity theft victim.

There are a variety of reasons why someone may face identity theft during or after a divorce. For starters, someone may have access to personal information such as their spouse’s social security number, credit card number, date of birth, and other critical details. With this information in hand, they may be able to open new accounts or empty an existing account. Moreover, the misuse of an identity may be even more likely during divorce because of the bitterness that some people experience. People can be very emotionally charged when it comes to the end of marriage and some become so upset that they are willing to break the law.

Modification of the original child support order

Either parent can request that a child support order be modified in Oregon. According to the Marion County District Attorney, a change in the amount of child support may be appropriate if it has been three years or more, or if either party has had a major change in circumstances since the original order. 

The Oregon Department of Justice explains that modification does not necessarily require parents to go back to court. The request is processed through the state's Child Support Program. The parent who requests the modification must provide proof that the new circumstances are different enough to warrant refiguring the payment amount. For example, if there has been an involuntary job loss for either parent, the child's needs have changed or the child no longer lives with the former custodial parent, the state's Child Support Program would probably approve the request for modification. 

Filing for divorce after decades of marriage

All sorts of issues can arise during the process of divorce, such as a disagreement over child custody or stress regarding the division of property. However, the emotional toll of divorce should not be overlooked and divorce can be particularly difficult for those who have been married for decades. Sometimes, people in this position may also be elderly, which can make the end of marriage especially hard. Our firm knows how tough splitting up with a spouse can be after so many years and we believe that you should do all you can to protect your future.

Before you file for divorce, or as soon as you find out that your marriage will be coming to an end, it is vital to start thinking ahead. You should be aware of the different ways that ending a marriage can affect your finances, whether you will be required to pay alimony or will lose access to property. If you are no longer able to work, it is particularly important to be prepared for the different challenges that could pop up in the months and years ahead.

What divorcing spouses should know about restraining orders

Divorce and emotional distress typically go hand in hand, and for some people in Oregon, that strain may lead to unacceptable behavior. If a spouse is experiencing threats of violence, or if the other spouse is physically abusive, the Oregon State Bar explains that there is a law in place to address the danger: the Oregon Family Abuse Prevention Act.

A spouse can receive protection from abuse that occurred within the past 180 days through a restraining order. The law defines abuse as one or more of the following:

  • Physical harm
  • An attempt at physical harm
  • A threat of physical harm
  • Unwanted sexual relations through force or threat of force

Important facts about dividing property in an Oregon divorce

Once you and your spouse have established that you cannot make your relationship work, it is time to begin the legal process of ending your Oregon marriage, a large part of which is dividing your marital property. At the office of Daniel J. Lounsbury Attorney at Law, we have assisted many divorcing clients with the division of assets and debts.

If you own some things that were never shared during your relationship, they might not be part of the process. For example, if you had a valuable necklace left to you by your grandmother, it may be separate property. You should still mention it when you are doing the inventory, but it might not affect the equitable division of your shared assets. However, as the Oregon Judicial Branch explains, assets such as retirement accounts that were contributed to during the marriage would be considered marital assets. 

How are custody rights determined in a divorce?

Separating or divorcing parents in Oregon are often very concerned about child custody determinations.

As a parent, you may be reassured to note that according to the Oregon State Bar Association, custody and parental visitation determinations are guided by the child's best interests, rather than automatically granted to either parent on the basis of the parent's gender.

Things to consider before filing for divorce

Many married couples in Oregon file for divorce for varying reasons. No matter how unhappy you are and ready you feel to leave, there are some things you should take into consideration before filing your divorce papers. You should look past the relief and excitement you feel at the thought of closing this chapter and moving on so you can plan and improve the quality of your post-divorce life. 

Here are some key considerations to keep in mind when filing for divorce. 

What is Oregon’s process for establishing paternity?

Even though you may know who your child’s biological father is, the Oregon family law courts will simply take your word for it. Instead, there is a legal process that you must go through before he is recognized. According to the Oregon Department of Justice’s Oregon Child Support Program, if you were not married to the father at the time of your child’s birth, you and he will have to take certain steps.

The father may want to be a part of your child’s life, whether or not he has a relationship with you. In either case, he will need to fill out the form that voluntarily acknowledges paternity. You both sign it, and then you must have it notarized and file it with Oregon Vital Records.

Steps to keeping divorce peaceful and productive

Each year, many Oregon couples resort to divorce as an option to reduce tensions, disagreements and stress associated with deteriorating relationships. While it is never convenient and rarely peaceful from start to finish, couples can take proactive steps to keep proceedings as productive and drama-free as possible.

In an article shared by the Huffington Post, couples can gain insight into some of the things they can do to keep their divorce peaceful. These include the following suggestions:

  • Bury the scorecards: One of the biggest mistakes a divorcing couple can make is to constantly compete in regards to custody, asset allocation and other aspects of divorce. Individuals who keep score and promote themselves as an entitled winner are only more likely to cause chaos and contention.
  • Children come first: For couples with children, one of the best ways to keep proceedings peaceful is to put the needs of their children first. Making decisions based off of a child’s well-being, happiness and overall comfort can help each spouse to maintain flexibility and compassion.
  • Keep things reasonable: When fights do arise, couples should do their best to be fair, empathetic and understanding. Individuals should avoid making haste judgments, talking badly about their spouse or refusing to listen.
  • Forgiveness is crucial: Even though it is one of the hardest things to do, divorcing couples should make every effort to forgive each other and move on from heated disagreements. Couples that hold grudges or are spiteful of each other often have a much harder time finding productive and beneficial agreements in divorce proceedings.

Maintaining a strong parent-child relationship following divorce

Pending a divorce, many Oregon parents share similar concerns including how to help their children cope and how to reach an amicable custody agreement. Another prevalent anxiety is often centered around the ability to maintain strong parent-child relationships despite significant changes to the familial structure.

According to the Huffington Post, there are some proactive steps that divorcing parents can take to maintain worthwhile relationships with their children and create even stronger bonds. These include the following:

  • Thoughtfulness: If a parent notices a deteriorating relationship with their child, he or she should take a thoughtful approach to finding out why. Perhaps there are things that can be doing to put the child’s needs first or to better understand the changes in the child’s attitude or behavior.
  • Involvement: Parents can successfully show they care about their children by being involved in the details of their lives. Even after a divorce, parents can be proactive about creating a calendar and being aware of their children’s schedule, extra-curricular commitments and current interests.
  • Quality time: While parents may be tempted to measure their involvement in terms of hours spent with their children, it is more productive for them to focus on quality time. Parents should focus their energy on creating memories and spending time doing wholesome, quality activities with their children.
  • Creativity: Children thrive off of creativity and exposure to new experiences. Parents can encourage excitement and enthusiasm for spending time together by being creative and thinking of fun activities that promote learning.
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