Who Keeps What in a Divorce?

“He taught me housekeeping; when I divorce, I keep the house.” — Zsa Zsa Gabor

Divorce rates continue to climb in Oregon and throughout the United States. The longer a couple is married, the more their possessions are intertwined. The decision to divorce often begins the process of dividing the couple’s assets, which can be both an emotional and often bitter experience — and this is not just true about divorces involving the wealthy. The cost of maintaining two households on top of the cost of the divorce itself is likely to be especially difficult when the divorcing spouses have limited financial means.

Oregon law on the division of a marital estate

The definition of property has also slowly shifted to include things like email accounts and family Facebook pages. When determining how to divide the property of divorcing spouses, the court presumes they both were equal contributors to acquiring all property, regardless in whose name it is held. Oregon is an equitable distribution state as set forth in ORS Chapter 107.105. The law includes instructs the court to also consider the following factors:

  • The reasonable costs and taxes that can be anticipated or that may be incurred with the sale of assets
  • Retirement plans included in the marital estate
  • The contribution made a spouse who was the homemaker to the acquisition of property during the marriage
  • Where spousal support is awarded to one spouse instead of a greater share of the marital estate the court will require the other spouse to maintain a life insurance policy equal to the support obligation
  • A gift made to and kept by one spouse will not be included in the presumption of equal contribution

Kell, Alterman & Runstein, L.L.P. are Oregon- and Vancouver-based family law attorneys. We help clients going through the difficult process of divorce by offering caring and knowledgeable legal representation.

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