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Marriage should be one of the happiest journeys two people can embark on together, growing love, a family, and memories. For every love song in the world, you can probably think of a dozen that remind you of a special someone. Somewhere along the line, however, the fire fades and romance is long forgotten and a spouse may take another lover outside of the marriage, otherwise known as an extra-marital affair. If this is discovered, the first thought may be divorce, however, as any Beaverton family law attorney will tell you, Oregon is a “no-fault” state; this means you cannot claim that any wrongdoing of a spouse was the reason for your filing.

Here’s a fleshed out example of what we mentioned earlier. Say you’ve suspected that your spouse is sneaking around with another person and having an affair. You keep an eye on them and look for any irregularities in their behavior. One day, you go to work and decide to leave early only to walk in on your spouse in the act with another. Concrete evidence, right? Unfortunately, not so much. Back to the “no-fault” standard of Oregon, you cannot use past transgressions, such as cheating, as grounds for divorce.

There is a simpler route to take in these instances by claiming irreconcilable differences. This simply states in plain terms that the marriage is broken and there is no action either, nor both, parties could do to save it. The only acceptable and reasonable option is to divorce. It seems strange that one cannot use extra-marital affairs as a basis for divorce filings, but being able to claim that things just don’t work anymore is much more to the point.

Affairs are not the only examples of fault in a marriage; another notable example that has serious ramifications when brought to light in court is substance abuse. If a spouse can prove the other has a history of substance abuse and custody is being negotiated, the judge will take this into consideration as they must rule in the best interest of the child. In some cases, evidence must be shown why the marriage is beyond repair and fault may be used. Substance abuse, affairs, or physical abuse may be presented at this time. All of these factors, however, do not affect alimony or property division determinations.

It’s a tragedy to see marriages fall apart and end in divorce, but it is a difficult fact that must be faced. To add to the sad reality, abuse – both substance and physical – and affairs can begin at any time; there may never have been a red flag or warning prior to marriage allowing a spouse to reevaluate the situation. If you, or a loved one, find themselves in a marriage that cannot continue, it is imperative to reach out to a Beaverton family law attorney, such as the experts at Helzer & Kromar LLP, to guide you through filing and the difficult journey. Call us, or visit our offices, immediately if you are in need of assistance to navigate the upcoming legal battle of separation from a husband or wife.