The idea of community property means that each person in a marriage owns half of everything. The state of Oregon is not a community property state, which means almost everything will be divided equally during a divorce. There are some specific rules that could change what is subject to division in Oregon.
Land or Property
In a community property state, when one spouse buys land or property, the other spouse automatically owns half of it. In non-community property states like Oregon this is not always the case. A spouse has an interest in the property only if his name is on the deed or title. This means that the property would not automatically go to the spouse, but instead would be based on a will in the case of a death.
Determining Marital Property
The courts in Oregon must first decide what is marital property, which is usually property obtained during the course of the marriage. This means that what each spouse brought into the marriage or received after a split up is not counted. Gifts from family or inheritances that one spouse got during the marriage are also not considered marital property. Oregon attorney Barbara Palmer says that Oregon casts a wide net when determining whether something is marital property, meaning most things are counted as marital property.
The next step after determining what counts as marital property is to set a value on the property. Once that is done, the property is divided up equally by the courts. Oregon law makes courts require appraisals from outside experts to determine the value for this division. These values are used to make sure that an equal division of property is made based on total dollar value.
Arguments and Problems
Pensions and family-owned businesses create the most controversy during a divorce. Oregon law firm McNeil & Goldstein says that it is common for Oregon courts to order pensions to make payments to the spouse in addition to the worker. It is also common for the courts to force family homes or businesses to be sold if one spouse cannot buy out the other or if there are not enough assets in the properties.