Property Division in Oregon
People in Oregon contemplating divorce need to become familiar with the state’s process for dividing assets and property among spouses. In this blog, we explain what property divorced couples are entitled to keep and what they have to divide.
Is Oregon a Community Property or Equitable Distribution State?
Oregon is an equitable distribution state, which means all of the assets accumulated during your marriage are considered marital property, with the exception of property you inherited or were gifted. It is important to note that the term “equitable” is not a synonym for “equal. ” Rather, equitable means the court will split the property fairly between spouses if they can’t reach an agreement to settle property disputes.
Property that was acquired separately prior to the marriage will be awarded to the spouse who owns it. If assets have been commingled, the court can choose to divide separate assets among spouses regardless of whose name is on the title. All divisions of assets are subject to court review and approval.
Are Pensions & Retirement Accounts Considered Marital Property?
Pensions and retirement accounts are considered marital property in Oregon, which means they will be equitably distributed with the other assets. However, only the amount that was accumulated during the couple's marriage can be equitably distributed. Whatever funds were put into the pension or retirement account before the marriage is considered separate property.
To divide pension and retirement account funds, the court must approve a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO). The QDRO must also be submitted to the plan administrator for approval before the spouse can be designated as an alternate payee and receive their portion according to the specifics of the QDRO.
How Do Courts Divide Debts Among Spouses?
Oregon courts divide a couple’s debts the same way they divide other marital assets: equitably. However, each spouse is responsible for removing their name from any debts that are assigned to both spouses after a divorce decree has been issued. Creditors are not bound by a divorce decree and can take collection actions against the other spouse if they don’t remove their name and obligation to repay with the card issuer.