General collection information
This collection contains records of divorce for individuals from Oregon between 1925 and 1971. All documents were recorded on pre-printed forms. Most are typed, but older records may have been hand-written. All records are in English. Divorce records from Oregon are accessible to the public after 50 years.
Using this collection
Records in the collection may include the following information:
Legal divorce was often a lengthy process, and pinpointing an exact date for a divorce record can present some difficulties. To find an approximate date, first check census records. They can tell you whether or not a couple was living together, but keep in mind that a separated couple may not yet be divorced. Censuses began listing "divorced" as a marital status in 1880.
If you can't find a record, consider checking the counties surrounding your family member's home. While most divorces occur in the county where the couple resided, this isn't always the case. Couples wishing to quickly divorce may have traveled to other states with more lenient divorce laws.
You can purchase an official divorce certificate copy at VitalChek.
Collection in context
Divorce in the U.S. predates the founding of the country. The American Revolution made divorce cases the task of the courts, not the legislature, which made getting a divorce more accessible. Divorces are always recorded by the county in which they occur.
Prior to the advent of no-fault divorces in 1970, couples wishing to divorce had to have legal cause to separate. Some of these causes included adultery, abandonment, physical abuse, felony, or other marital misconduct. No-fault divorce laws came about because people often lied about legal fault in divorce proceedings.
Cdc.gov "Where to Write for Vital Records - Oregon." Last modified January 18, 2018. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/w2w/oregon.htm.
Hardy, James. "The History of Divorce Law in the USA." Historycooperative.org. Last modified May 29, 2015. https://historycooperative.org/the-history-of-divorce-law-in-the-usa/.
Oregon Secretary of State. "About Vital Records." Last Modified August 5, 2021. https://sos.oregon.gov/archives/Pages/records/aids-vitalrecords.aspx.