Divorce

Divorce can be very difficult and overwhelming for the parties involved, especially after a lengthy marriage.  We can help you sort out your options and explain your rights.  You will likely have many questions. 

 

Some of the issues we can assist you with include:

 

Property Division.

As a general matter, most property obtained by either party during the marriage, regardless of who paid for it, is marital property and should be equitably divided upon divorce.

 

The relevant statute is found at ORS 107.105(F):

 

(f) For the division or other disposition between the parties of the real or personal property, or both, of either or both of the parties as may be just and proper in all the circumstances. A retirement plan or pension or an interest therein shall be considered as property. The court shall consider the contribution of a spouse as a homemaker as a contribution to the acquisition of marital assets. There is a rebuttable presumption that both spouses have contributed equally to the acquisition of property during the marriage, whether such property is jointly or separately held.

 

While this may sound fairly straightforward there are many grey areas here which can be difficult to navigate.  For example the general rule that property acquired during the marriage can be rebutted if there is enough evidence that “the other spouse’s efforts during the marriage did not contribute equally to the acquisition of the disputed marital asset.” Kunze and Kunze, 337 Or 122, 134, 92 P3d 100 (2004). 

 

Furthermore, while property acquired prior to the marriage is generally considered separate property, not subject to division, it is subject to distribution by the court and can be awarded to either party if the court finds such distribution would be just and proper under the circumstances.  Pierson and Pierson, 294 Or 117, 121–122, 653 P2d 1258 (1982).

 

Full Disclosure.

A just and proper division cannot be made unless both parties fully disclose all assets, not just those presumed to be marital assets. ORS 107.105(1)(f). Each party must provide the other with statutorily described financial documents within a specific time period after service of the petition for dissolution if a request to do so accompanies it. ORS 107.089.

 

Parties to a divorce cannot hide money and assets from each other.  If we represent you in your divorce we will file requests for discovery of all relevant financial information.  If the other party resists we can move to hold them in contempt, which can result in fines or other penalties if the requested information is not disclosed.

 

Spousal Support.

Spousal support may or may not be appropriate in your case.  There are no hard and fast rules in Oregon as to when spousal support will or won’t be ordered, but rather a number of factors that are to be considered by the court.  Therefore this is often an area that can be very contentious.

 

Spousal support determinations are governed by ORS 107.105(d):

 

(d) For spousal support, an amount of money for a period of time as may be just and equitable for one party to contribute to the other, in gross or in installments or both. The court may approve an agreement for the entry of an order for the support of a party. In making the spousal support order, the court shall designate one or more categories of spousal support and shall make findings of the relevant factors in the decision. The court may order:

 

(A) Transitional spousal support as needed for a party to attain education and training necessary to allow the party to prepare for reentry into the job market or for advancement therein. The factors to be considered by the court in awarding transitional spousal support include but are not limited to:

(i) The duration of the marriage;

(ii) A party’s training and employment skills;

(iii) A party’s work experience;

(iv) The financial needs and resources of each party;

(v) The tax consequences to each party;

(vi) A party’s custodial and child support responsibilities; and

(vii) Any other factors the court deems just and equitable.

 

(B) Compensatory spousal support when there has been a significant financial or other contribution by one party to the education, training, vocational skills, career or earning capacity of the other party and when an order for compensatory spousal support is otherwise just and equitable in all of the circumstances. The factors to be considered by the court in awarding compensatory spousal support include but are not limited to:

 

(i) The amount, duration and nature of the contribution;

(ii) The duration of the marriage;

(iii) The relative earning capacity of the parties;

(iv) The extent to which the marital estate has already benefited from the contribution;

(v) The tax consequences to each party; and

(vi) Any other factors the court deems just and equitable.

 

(C) Spousal maintenance as a contribution by one spouse to the support of the other for either a specified or an indefinite period. The factors to be considered by the court in awarding spousal maintenance include but are not limited to:

 

(i) The duration of the marriage;

(ii) The age of the parties;

(iii) The health of the parties, including their physical, mental and emotional condition;

(iv) The standard of living established during the marriage;

(v) The relative income and earning capacity of the parties, recognizing that the wage earner’s continuing income may be a basis for support distinct from the income that the supported spouse may receive from the distribution of marital property;

(vi) A party’s training and employment skills;

(vii) A party’s work experience;

(viii) The financial needs and resources of each party;

(ix) The tax consequences to each party;

(x) A party’s custodial and child support responsibilities; and

(xi) Any other factors the court deems just and equitable.

 

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