Distribution of assets in an Oregon divorce

Separating property in a divorce may seem overwhelming, but an attorney can help you through the process.

When couples decide to go their separate ways, there are several topics that must be covered in the divorce settlement. Dividing marital assets may be one of the most difficult tasks to accomplish when going through the divorce process. While some people may be able to negotiate the terms of property division through mediation or collaborate divorce, other couples may need traditional court litigation to determine who gets what in the settlement.

Equitable division of property

Oregon follows an equitable division of property model, which allows each party to get a fair and equitable portion of the marital property and assets. Before the court-appointed judge determines who is entitled to what, however, he or she may take into consideration several factors in the case. These include the following:

· How long the couple was married.

· The contributions of each party to the marriage and family.

· Whether there are any children involved.

· Whether the division of property will lead to a tax benefit for either party.

· Any separate property that is involved.

The judge may also look at whether either party suspended their career and/or education in order to further the career or education of the other spouse.

Separate vs. Marital property

While marital property may be distributed in an equitable fashion between spouses, separate property is often awarded to the original owner and not divided. Separate property and assets are owned by one party prior to becoming married. In order to stay separate, however, the title of the property must remain in the sole name of the original owner. For example, if at some point during the marriage, the spouse's name is added to the title of a home that was considered separate, that property becomes marital. Similarly, if separate assets are deposited into a joint bank account, the money runs the risk of becoming marital as well.

Gifts that are given to either party before, during or after the marriage by a third party are also considered separate property, as well as inheritance money, workers' compensation benefits or personal injury benefits.

Getting through the process

There is no question that going through a divorce can be stressful. Making decisions during this emotional time may see daunting. Speaking with an attorney in Oregon who has extensive experience assisting people through the divorce process may be essential in order to ensure you receive everything you are entitled to in the divorce settlement.