What Am I Entitled to in a Divorce in Oregon?
How Property Is Divided in Oregon: Equitable Distribution
In Oregon, divorce law follows the rule of equitable distribution, where assets and debts are divided in a manner that is considered fair to both parties. In many instances, marital property is divided equally and each spouse keeps their own separate property. However, “equitable” does not necessarily mean “equal.” If couples cannot agree on what is fair, a judge will make the decision.
Marital Property and Separate Property
Quite often, we are asked what a person may be entitled to in a divorce in Oregon. Some want to know if they are entitled to support payments from their spouse. Some people are concerned how assets and property will be divided, who keeps the house, or who will be responsible for debts. So, how is it determined who gets what?
The answer depends on what is established to be “marital property” (sometimes referred to as joint property) and what qualifies as “separate property.” This same method is also applied to debts. This can be a difficult task, especially when the two parties don’t get along and want to stake claim to everything.
In a divorce, the two parties must both provide an “inventory” regarding the property owned and any debts that are owed. It is then determined what is marital property and what is separate property:
- Marital property is considered all assets acquired while the parties are married.
- Separate property consists of the items brought into the marriage by each party. Separate property may also apply to certain items like gifts or inheritances, regardless of whether or not it was received during the marriage.
At the end of the day, there are numerous factors that go into these determinations and understanding what they are is important.
Non-Monetary Contributions During the Marriage
Some non-monetary contributions are equal to monetary efforts depending on what they are, such as one spouse spending most of the time during the marriage as the homemaker and allowing the other spouse the time to work. Or one spouse contributing to increase the value of the separate property of another spouse, such as a business or house. Or if one spouse accrued a large amount of debt. In these cases, one spouse may be awarded more marital property (and sometimes some separate property if necessary) to more fairly represent the contributions of each party.
Spousal Support (a.k.a. Alimony)
Determining if a spouse is entitled to financial support depends on a number of factors. This includes the duration of the marriage, the income of each party, the income earning ability of each party, the spouses’ ages, and more. For instance, if one partner stayed home to care for the children and gave up a career, they may receive support until they are either able to gain income or they remarry. This is to make sure the standard of living is not compromised and the parties can maintain the same lifestyle they had while married.
It is also important to note that each parent is financially responsible for their children, and child support payments are determined based on calculations provided by Oregon State courts, and are not subject to any of the rules that apply to spousal support or property division.
Consult an attorney for advice regarding your specific situation
If you are facing a divorce and have concerns about property or your financial well-being, our team at McKinley Irvin is experienced and committed protecting what our clients value most. Contact our Portland office to consult an attorney about what you may be entitled to in a divorce.