Assets the Court Doesn't Divide in a Divorce

Posted on March 12, 2015 01:05pm
Assets the Court Doesn't Divide in a Divorce

Oregon is an equitable distribution state; at the end of your marriage, the court will equitably (fairly) divide marital property between you and your spouse. By law, fair may not equate equal.

How Do I Determine Which Assets Are Exempt from Division in Divorce?

While the court assumes most of your property is marital property, certain items are exempt from division. By law, any property acquired in the duration of your marriage is “marital property” and subject to division, unless it is a gift or inheritance. These items are separate property, and the court will not consider them in divorce proceedings.

Generally speaking, these determine whether a specific item or asset is subject to property division in an Oregon divorce proceeding:

  • When did you acquire the asset? Before or after your marriage?
    • Anything you acquired prior to the marriage is usually off-limits to the spouse when you divorce. However, this can be complicated if you have a premarital bank account that is co-mingled with marital funds.
  • Was the item part of an inheritance?
    • In Oregon, inheritances are considered separate property even if you received it during the course of your marriage.
  • Was the item a gift – either from your spouse or a third party?
    • Gifts can also be counted as separate property and not subject to division even if it was received during the marriage.

Is an Engagement Ring Separate Property in a Divorce?

One of the most common questions in property division is, “Who gets the engagement ring?” In most cases, engagement and wedding rings are usually treated as separate, gifted property. But this may not be true in every case.

In the end, the court will decide if the engagement ring is marital or separate property. While an engagement ring is typically intended as a gift, the court can decide that it was a “conditional gift” to be divided in the divorce.

Who Gets Custody of Pets in a Divorce?

For many people, pets are like family. If you are facing a divorce, you may be concerned about your pets, and where they will live post-divorce. In the United States, most pets are legal property. Thus, they are often subject to the same property division laws as your other belongings, so couples will need to decide on pet custody matters between them.

When You Acquired the Item Is Key

Engagement rings aside, any item given to you as a gift (from your spouse or a third party) is personal property; your spouse cannot take it in the event of a divorce. This also includes any valuables or assets that you acquired before the marriage.

If, for example, you purchased a car before you married, the court will not consider it while calculating property division. On the other hand, if you and your spouse purchased the vehicle together, the court will divide it with your other marital property.

Questions About Your Property Division?

Need more answers? McKinley Irvin invites you to speak with a representative of our law firm today.

Contact us for additional information.

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