Our Portland Divorce Attorney Explains Property Division in Oregon

Property Division
When a couple files for divorce in Oregon, the law requires full disclosure of both separate and marital property. Couples who agree on a property division plan on their own will sign a Marital Settlement Agreement, which the court will adopt into a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage. Those who cannot agree will have the divorce court make a determination to divide the property between the spouses. Our Portland divorce attorney guides his clients through the discovery process and is a skilled negotiator on their behalf to settle issues of property distribution. If the case proceeds to trial, Ronald Allen Johnston has over 40 years of litigation experience in family law matters, making him an asset in your fight for property rights.

Just and Proper Division of Marital Property

In Oregon, property is subject to division by the court that is “just and proper in all the circumstances.” Also called “equitable distribution,” it does not necessarily mean an equal split of the property. Divorce laws in Oregon distribute property on an equitable basis, meaning each spouse will receive a “fair” share of property, rather than necessarily “equal” amounts between spouses.

When one party files for divorce, an automatic financial restraining order is in place to ensure neither party transfers any asset nor hinders the other’s right to the property. The parties will begin the discovery process, which includes putting a monetary value on non-liquid assets. This may require appraisals, business valuations or actuarial values for retirement accounts.

There is a rebuttable presumption that both spouses have contributed equally to the acquisition of property during the marriage, whether the property is joint or separate. This is the court’s “starting point” when deciding how to divide property. A spouse’s contribution can be from income and wages, other money used to purchase property or investments, as well as repairs and maintenance to the home and assets. By statute, courts must also consider the contribution of a spouse as homemaker as a contribution to the acquisition of marital assets.

Besides contributions to marital property, the courts shall consider reasonable costs of sale of assets, taxes and any other costs reasonably anticipated by the parties in determining what is just and proper. As Oregon is a “no-fault” divorce state, the court will not consider fault by either party when dividing property.

Full Disclosure of Assets and Liabilities is Required

Spouses and the courts cannot fairly determine how to divide property unless the parties disclose all known property. This disclosure takes place during the discovery process and must be complete. The court may punish spouses who fail to disclose property by imposing sanctions, and spouses who failed to disclose an asset may find their divorce re-opened in post-decree litigation.

Our Portland divorce lawyer guides his clients through the discovery process and disclosure to ensure every asset and liability is included. Ronald Allen Johnston understands the importance of having every asset valued correctly and can refer clients to trusted appraisers, if necessary. Contact him today to schedule a pre-divorce consultation or for a confidential second opinion as to your ongoing divorce.

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