Are Assets Split Equally in a Divorce?
One of the most common questions we get asked at McKinley Irvin is whether marital assets are split evenly when spouses divorce. Below, our lawyers explain what you need to know about how courts split assets between spouses in divorce cases in the state of Oregon.
Oregon is not a community property state, so all of the property and debts that have been accumulated by a married couple do not equally belong to both when they get divorced. Instead, equitable distribution states take the stance that property belongs to the individual spouse who earned it.
Although courts divide a couple’s assets in a fair and equitable manner, it is important to note that the term “equitable” does not mean “equal.” Both parties in the divorce will have to meet with their attorneys to discuss a fair way to split up the marital property that will allow both spouses to maintain a standard of living close to what they were accustomed to during the marriage.
Separate Vs. Joint Property
Courts will separate divorcing couples’ assets into two categories: separate property and joint property.
- Separate Property: The property that each spouse owned before entering into the marriage is generally considered separate property. Property in this category will go to the individual owner.
- Joint Property: All of the property acquired by a couple during their marriage generally constitutes joint property. And while your name might be on the title of specific assets, Oregon courts will presume that both spouses contributed to its purchase if it was acquired during the marriage.
Other Factors Courts Consider
To determine how assets should be divided equitably, courts consider the following:
- The number of properties owned by each spouse
- Taxes, pensions, and retirement plans
- Medical bills
- Contributions made by homemakers
- Anticipated costs of raising children
- Whether one party has the ability to pay child support or spousal support