Legal Marriage Separation
An Alternative to Divorce

Holtey Law is home to Portland’s most trusted, compassionate, experienced, and driven divorce attorneys. We’re here to advise you on your options, including a legal separation of marriage.

Is a Legal Separation of Marriage Right For You?

Under Oregon law, a judgment for a legal separation of marriage may be granted in lieu of a divorce. A legal marriage separation is different than dissolution of marriage in that the parties remain legally married and cannot remarry. A legal separation is a formal legal agreement between spouses, which allows for separation of their lives and finances but does not dissolve their marriage.

There are several reasons why you may choose a legal separation instead of marriage dissolution (divorce), including:

  • Personal – religious beliefs or social reasons
  • Legal – you are not ready for a divorce but need court protection concerning your children, financial support, protection from your spouse’s debts, and property issues
  • Financial – you need to remain married to retain health insurance or retirement benefits ( benefits are only available in certain situations following a legal separation; be sure to discuss your specific situation with your attorney)
  • Residency requirements – you may file for legal separation in Oregon if one party resides in Oregon. You may then, if you choose to do so, convert the legal separation filing to one for divorce after the six-month residency requirements are met 

It’s important to note that the legal marriage separation process is nearly identical to that of a dissolution of marriage. Plans for child custody, child and spousal support, and property division (assets and debts) must be in place. Also note, one party can object to a legal separation and insist that the petition be converted to a divorce. The major drawback of a legal separation is that the terms of a legal separation judgment are not “final” in the same way that many terms of a divorce judgment are.

Your attorney will help you determine whether a legal separation is appropriate in your situation.

In Oregon, within a 2 year period following a legal separation, either party may file a motion to convert the legal separation to a divorce. This can be a straightforward process if neither party seeks to change terms of the original agreement. It is vital that your original documents were well crafted. Legal protection and strategizing at the outset is critical to your emotional and financial health long term. Legal separation and marriage dissolution have similar implications.

Divorce Facts You Need to Know


Don’t go it alone. There is no such thing as a simple divorce. Our attorneys will help you make smart decisions and help you understand the options available to you.


Your legal representation is an investment. We will help you ensure the future happiness, wellbeing, and financial stability of you and your children.


No two cases are the same. You, your marriage, and your needs are unique. Only when we know the specifics of your case can we provide truly valuable legal advice.

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Expert Guidance From Holtey Law

Experience tells us that it’s best to deal calmly and rationally with the legal and financial issues you are now facing. In the throes of divorce or marriage separation cases it can be difficult to do this.

It’s normal to feel uncertain, insecure, angry, or depressed right now. Legal counsel and guidance will help you act swiftly and effectively. We’ll help you protect yourself and protect your children.

“Sarah Brown was my divorce lawyer and she did an excellent job representing me. I trust her completely and I have the utmost confidence in her abilities to ensure a fair and equitable outcome. I highly recommend her to anyone looking for a excellent divorce lawyer. Thanks ever so much, Sarah!”

– Monika E.

Get Your Questions Answered at No Charge

It starts with a phone consultation. We’re ready to learn everything about your situation, assets affected, and children involved. From there, we’ll develop a strategy designed to produce the best outcome for you and your family.

Get your free, no obligation phone consultation today.

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1140 SW 11th Ave #4, Portland OR 97205
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