Clients and Lawyers Play the Conflict Game (Portland Tribune article)

“Tough divorce attorneys smack into wall of conflict,” by Peter Korn, Portland Tribune, October 25, 2012.

Excerpt: “This is what happens when you get a reputation as the roughest, toughest, you-don’t-want-to-mess-with-me divorce attorney in town.

Jody Stahancyk is the attorney in question, and love her or hate her, if you’re getting a divorce, she’s the lawyer you don’t want representing your spouse. Or at least, that’s what a number of people seem to think, since Stahancyk has become the prime target of a legal but maybe not so ethical strategy called “conflicting out.

Here’s how it works:…
” [Link to full Portland Tribune article.]

Oregon Divorce and Family Law Guides

Oregon family law attorneys give away a lot of free information and collaborate to make available lots of free family law forms.

The Oregon Judicial Department Family Law Facilitators offer free advice and invaluable services to many self-represented litigants, but family law can become complex very quickly when there are children, substantial financial assets, or simply whenever there is no meeting of the minds.

Family law attorneys also provide lots of information, which you can find on their websites. I’ve come across this one recently, a Northwest law firm that has a collection of articles and a guide to divorce in Oregon, all free.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is for research purposes only.  We do not provide legal advice, nor do we endorse any person, product, or company.

Disclaimer: It is against state law for library staff members to engage in any conduct that might constitute the unauthorized practice of law (ORS 9.160, 9.166 and 9.21).  They may not interpret statutes, cases or regulations, perform legal research, recommend or assist in the preparation of forms, or advise patrons regarding their legal rights.  They may, however, assist patrons in locating materials or links that would aid in individual research.

Community Property Rights in Common Law Oregon – Update

Oregon is a common law property state, so what happens when you move here from a community property state and you want to preserve your community property rights?

If you are a community property couple and you move to Oregon, you need to be careful how you buy property, how you title it, how you finance it, how you dispose of it, etc., etc., etc.

The January 2008 issue of the OSB Estate Planning and Administration Section newsletter has an article on the subject, Preserving Community Property Rights in Oregon, by Kevin Tillson, Hunt & Associates, PC.

P.S. For non-attorneys – please don’t confuse common law property rights with common law marriage, another matter entirely. See the Oregon State Bar blurb:

“Does Oregon have common law marriages?
A common law “marriage” is not created in Oregon. However, if a couple is from a state that acknowledges common law marriages, and the couple meets the requirements of common law marriage of that state, then the state of Oregon will recognize the marriage of that state as valid in Oregon.”

See also:
“Debt and Marriage: When Do I Owe My Spouse’s Debts” from Nolo.com
“Marriage & Property Ownership: Who Owns What?” from Nolo.com
Here’s a link to my How to Find a Lawyer guide.

Originally posted 1/28/08 
Updated 4/12/12

New legal research guide – Vital Records

The Washington County Law Library has a new legal research guide on filing, finding, registering, and amending Oregon vital records and locating vital records from other states.  For information specifically about Oregon marriage licenses, see Laura’s previous post from June 2009.  If you are trying to locate divorce records, see my post from September 26, 2011.  As always, you can locate all of the documents uploaded to the law library’s website in our document index.

How Do I Get Copies of My Divorce Records?

We’ve been receiving numerous calls lately from people wanting copies of their divorce records.  The first step is knowing which county would have the records (where did the divorce occur?).  From there, you need to contact the applicable circuit court.  The Oregon Judicial Department (OJD) provides links to each circuit court (left-hand side of the page in a drop-down list under “Circuit Court Websites”).  OJD also provides these instructions for finding copies of court records or information on court cases.  Note, your court records may be in the court’s archives or another off-site location, affecting the amount of time the request will take.  Some courts handle record requests both in person and by mail.  See the Washington County Circuit Court Records Department webpage for information on obtaining Washington County court records (the page also provides information on the difference between copies, certified copies, and exemplified copies). You can find more information on divorce and family law matters in Washington County at the law library’s divorce/family law page.  

If you are looking for information on finding copies of Oregon marriage licenses, see Laura’s blog post from June 2009.  The law library’s divorce/family law page also has information on filing and finding vital records.

New Law Library Website

We at the Washington County Law Library are pleased to announce the premiere of our newly redesigned website.  We’ve reorganized our content and added some new navigation menus.  A new navigation tab has been added for CLE information, and we organized our legal research resources into subject-area subsites (general resources, Oregon resources, subject guides, etc.).  We’ve also added direct links from our home page to the library catalog and the subject guides page.  One of the most exciting additions to the website (at least to us) is the document index, where we have compiled all of the documents available on the website.  Another exciting new subsite is the Divorce/Family Law page, accessible through both our website and the county’s homepage (from the Key Services & Information menu).  We invite you to explore the redesigned site and discover all our library has to offer.     

Transferring Ownership (title) of Vehicles in Oregon in Divorce, Bankruptcy, or Estate

The Oregon State Bar (OSB) Bulletin, June 2011, has a useful article in their Legal Practice Tips column: “Get it Right the First Time: Settling Ownership of Vehicles,” by William Leslie.
Excerpt: “Handling a titled vehicle in a divorce, bankruptcy or estate doesn’t have to be hard, but simple mistakes are made by new and experienced attorneys alike….
Here are some common mistakes made by attorneys in handling vehicles. The concepts apply equally well to boats, airplanes and anything else with a title issued by a state agency….” [Link to full article.]

Divorce Counseling for Oregon Women: Second Saturday Workshop

Visit the Portland Community College (PCC) Workshop, Second Saturday Workshop website on this divorce counseling for women program.
The National Second Saturday website gives the impression there is or will be a Divorce Counseling for Men program.
Also, don’t forget to check your local nonprofit and government family law resources for additional free and low-cost divorce counseling options.

Oregon Prenuptial Agreements (Contracts)

Note: I use the term “temporary” marriage below instead of “short-term” marriage because the latter is how marriages of very short duration are described and labeled in some courts. (*See below for more on “short-term” marriage in Oregon.)

Whenever someone asks why we (Americans, I presume, or maybe Oregonians) don’t have temporary or “short-term” marriage (meaning of limited duration by choice, not a marriage that lasts for a short-term), I refrain from playing the wedding-wag and saying, “what do you think a prenup is all about?”

Prenuptial agreements are about a whole lot more than money and power and can be extremely valuable marriage contracts, but if not managed seriously by each party to the marriage, I suppose they could be viewed as a back-door route to temporary marriage (e.g. in Islamic law), which may be one among other reasons they can raise some people’s blood pressure.

If you are planning to marry and are curious about prenups (curiosity is a good thing), in addition to reading some of those terrifying books, websites, and magazines on weddings, I recommend you read Nolo Press, “Prenuptial Agreements: How to Write a Fair & Lasting Contract,” 3rd ed., by Katherine Stoner & Shae Irving, J.D.

Online links to additional information about marriage and prenuptial agreements in Oregon and beyond:

1) ORS 700.108 et seq, Premarital Agreements (see also ORS Index)

2) OSB, Marriage in Oregon

3) Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (1983) and

4) Last but not least, consult a lawyer – please! Oregon State Bar Information and Referral Service and our “How to Find a Lawyer in Oregon” guide (also from the website if that link frustrates).

* For more about Oregon short-term (of limited duration) marriage, see “In re: Complaint as to the Conduct of MAGAR E. MAGAR (OSB 94-178, 94-210; SC 29172)

Footnote 5. Courts have applied the concept of a “short-term marriage” in the context of distributing marital assets. Broadly speaking, upon the dissolution of a short-term marriage, the “property division is a relatively simple task in the nature of a rescission.” Jenks and Jenks, 294 Or 236, 242, 656 P2d 286 (1982). According to Jenks, the determination whether a marriage is “short-term” depends not upon “any specific number of months or years[,]” but, instead, upon whether “the parties’ financial affairs become commingled or committed to the needs of children to the point that the parties cannot readily be restored to their premarital positions.” Id. More recently, this court has stated that, whether one defines a short-term marriage by looking to duration or to the commingling of assets, “reliance solely on the concept of a ‘short-term’ marriage * * * will lead to analytical mistakes.” Massee and Massee, 328 Or 195, 210, 970 P2d 1203 (1999) (citations omitted). Instead, the factors set out in the relevant statute, ORS 107.105(1)(f), “are the guide to the court’s discretion in dividing marital property.” Id. Our use of the term “short-term marriage” in this opinion should not be construed as an endorsement of that term….”

–To read Jenks v. Jenks, copy and paste this into Google Scholar:
Jenks and Jenks, 294 Or 236, 242

–To read Massee v. Massee, copy and paste this into Google Scholar:
Massee and Massee, 328 Or 195

(And don’t forget this OLR blog post on those pesky engagement/wedding rings.)

Spousal Support and “The Feminine Mistake”: A Gift that Keeps on Giving

County law librarians work with a lot of family law attorneys and pro se litigants contending with family law issues (marriage, divorce, custody, support). Not a small percentage of them have questions about spousal support (and subsequent modification). If your practice (or your life) hasn’t been such that you keep up with the law on this subject on a regular basis, you’ll need to do some research in the primary sources (starting with your state’s “Digest,” usually), the secondary sources (e.g. treatises and periodicals), and in your state’s legal practice research resources.

(I highly recommend a West “Digest” Topic (e.g. Divorce or Husband and Wife) search for starters and make sure you read the Scope Notes.)

Lately, though, every time I hear a summary of the facts for these cases, I think of the book “The Feminine Mistake.”

The Feminine Mistake” is a book (not a state of mind or evolution), and no, it’s not the Feminine Mystique, by Betty Friedan. “The Feminine Mistake” is also not just for women. The lessons it contains are worth thinking about, by everyone, whether you agree with the author or not. (But I predict there will be a lot of “I told you so” responses in the author’s future – and mine. I told you so.)

Reviews and Commentary:

1) Huffington Post, March 2007 (author speaks out)

2) Salon, April 2007, by Joan Walsh

3) Amazon reviews

4) For more reviews and commentary, Google (or other search engine of your choice) these words: feminine mistake book (and limit your search to articles in the past year to see how the book has “aged.”)