Dividing Assets and Debts in Divorce

Dividing assets and debts in divorce is a key part of any dissolution of marriage case in Oregon. Assets consist of any items that either party in the divorce case owns– individually or jointly with the other party– that has any value, or has increased in value during the course of the marriage. Debts consist of any liabilities.

Dividing Assets and Debts in Divorce

Assets include, but are not limited to:

  • Real property (a primary residence, a vacation home, a piece of land, etc.)
  • Vehicles (cars, boats, motorcycles, RVs, snow mobiles, ATVs, etc.)
  • Bank accounts
  • Investment accounts
  • Retirement accounts
  • Furniture
  • Personal property

Debts include, but are not limited to:

  • A primary mortgage
  • A secondary mortgage
  • Lines of credit
  • Credit cards
  • Student loans
  • Tax debts
  • Other debts or loans

It is common in divorce cases for both parties to come together to create a list of all assets and debts. There will almost certainly be disputes as to the value of various debts and assets and there will almost certainly be disputes as to who should be awarded certain assets or who should be responsible for paying certain debts, but it’s important for both parties to put everything on the table so that the parties (and a judge, if the case is tried) can have better understanding as to what is to be allocated.

Oregon is a no-fault state and is not a community property state. Aside from child custody and parenting time, the division of assets and debts is the most important function of the Court during a divorce case. It is quite common for one party to over-state or inflate the value of certain items and then assign them to the other party. Or, one party will want to under-value or minimize the value of a certain asset and then ask that it be awarded to themselves. In addition, it is very common for debts to be debated between the parties– with one party pointing the finger at the other party and claiming that there’d be no debts or the debts would be less if only the other party had spent more wisely.

In any event, dividing assets and debts in divorce is often time-consuming and controversial, and an experienced attorney can be very helpful in making sure the assets and debts are accurately valued or assessed, and that they are divided in a fair and equitable manner.

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