The division of property and debt in Oregon is known as “equitable distribution.” “Equitable” in this sense means fair, not equal. Debts too are considered and divided along equitable principles. Because the court is guided by what is “just and proper,” there are no rigid rules by which property and debt are distributed. However, there are guidelines by statute and caselaw about which you must be aware in planning your financial future.
Marital Property. Under Oregon law, contrary to common belief, all property is “marital property” subject to division by the Court, including property owned prior to marriage, kept separately owned during a marriage, or acquired as a gift or inheritance. That one spouse holds title to a particular asset does not prevent the court from awarding it to the other spouse. However, the source of separate property is relevant to the court in fashioning a “just and proper” division.
The party seeking to share in an asset must prove that the asset exists. In some instances that party will also need to establish equal contribution by both spouses in the acquisition of the asset. In others, that contribution will be presumed. The party opposing the division of the asset may need to prove that the other spouse’s efforts during the marriage did not contribute equally to the acquisition of the disputed marital asset such that it is not just and proper to divide the asset.
Thorough preparation is necessary to a favorable resolution of your divorce. Whether achieved through negotiation, mediation, or trial if necessary, you must:
locate or, in some cases, reveal assets or transactions your divorcing spouse may be attempting to conceal
accurately value assets including, real estate, business interests, pensions, retirement accounts and other investments
fully analyze the nature of all assets to determine whether they are treated as marital or separate property
determine the appropriate distribution of assets that will best provide for your financial future.
A Comprehensive Effort to Secure Your Future Well-Being
Ensure that your lawyer has the business and financial knowledge necessary to protect your interests in the distribution of your property, whether staightforward or complex (for example including partnerships, trusts, stocks and patents.) During this pivotal time, you will depend upon the diligence and responsiveness of your attorney to your needs as you seek the most favorable outcomes for you and your children.
In pursuit of equitable distribution and a property settlement that enables you to move forward in life, I provide services including:
- Securing accurate valuations of complex assets including real estate, business interests and investments
- Analyzing ownership and value to secure your share of any pensions, SEPs, 401(K) plans, IRAs or other retirement assets
- Investigation and research to demonstrate the proper treatment of property as marital or separate property — and to force disclosure and division of any assets your divorcing spouse may attempt to conceal
- Ensuring all marital debts, as well as property, are evaluated and accounted for in equitable distribution
- Full-service counsel and representation on all related personal and financial issues, including child custody/time sharing and spousal support
- Skilled negotiation in the effort to resolve your case as favorably and efficiently as possible
- Proven representation at trial if necessary to defend your right to equitable property distribution
Contact me to discuss how best to divide assets and aportion debts to protect your family’s financial future.