Division of Property
In every divorce, legal separation, or annulment, the real and personal property of the parties is divided in some manner. Oregon is an “equitable distribution” state, which means that the property division must be fair to both parties. Statutes and a large body of case law from our appellate courts create the framework of how your case will proceed, and what the outcome will be.
There is a legal presumption that both parties equally contribute to property acquired during the marriage. Therefore, real and personal property acquired during a marriage, including appreciation on premarital assets, is often divided equally. Debts are also divided in a manner that is fair.
Issues sometimes arise when one party owned property before the marriage, and seeks a “credit” for the value of that property. As an example, if the wife owned a mutual fund account with a value of $25,000 as of the date of marriage, continued to own the account as of the date of divorce, and the account grew to $50,000, through appreciation and additional contributions, she could seek to “back out” $25,000 of the value and shield it from being divided.
Other issues sometimes arise when one party receives an inheritance in the marriage and does not want to share it with the other party in the divorce. Again, there is a large body of case law that helps us determine how an inheritance will be divided upon divorce, if at all.
The other most common issues in a property division involve disputes about the value of property, such as a business or real property. In these cases, it is generally a good idea to obtain professional appraisals, which can help valuation disputes.
At Zimmer, Bond, Fay & Overlund, we have helped our clients with property divisions ranging from simple divisions of personal property to the division of multi-million dollar estates with complex assets. Our goal in every case is the same: to obtain a fair result for our clients.