Unless a fair and reasonable division of property can be agreed upon, Oregon
law states that a couple must divide their property under the principle
of equitable distribution in a divorce. Equitable distribution means that
the court will divide their property in a way that it deems fair, which
may not be an equal division.
How Equitable Distribution Affects Your Divorce
The first step in any property division is deciding what property belongs
to the marriage, known as marital property, and what property separately
belongs to each spouse. Marital property consists of anything acquired
or earned while the couple was married. Separate property can be inheritances,
gifts, and property purchased or obtained outside of the marriage. Separate
property is only touched by the court if it is needed to establish equitable
Oregon courts make the presumption that the acquisition of property during
a marriage was equal, regardless of actual ownership. The only property
left out of this are gifts made to one spouse that are always kept separate.
Equal ownership can be overruled if it can be proven that some assets
did not receive an equal contribution. Keep in mind, however, that it
is not just monetary contributions that make a difference in court.
In dividing property, there are a few things the court will consider:
- Amount of property to be divided
- Costs involved in the sale of assets
- Taxes on property
- Expected costs, such as the needs of children
- Retirement plans and pension
- Role of the homemaker
It is important to recognize that the court looks at debts in the same
way it looks at other property. If debt was marital property, then it
will be divided equitably in the divorce as well. Depending on the property
division, the needs of the spouses, and the upkeep of a reasonable lifestyle,
the court will decide on the appropriate spousal support payment as well.
The court assumes that a couple is unable to divide property on their own.
If a couple can come up with an agreement for their property, the court
will generally accept this as valid. Even if only some property can be
agreed upon outside of the court, the remaining property can be divided
according to equitable distribution.
Are you seeking a
divorce in Oregon and wondering how to divide property? McKinley Irvin can help.
Contact us to retain the personal service you need for a successful outcome in your