Is Oregon a “Community Property State” or a “Separate Property State?” Both Washington and California are community property states. How about Oregon?
While the division of assets– including real and personal property– in Oregon divorce cases can vary depending on the length of the marriage and other specific facts from the case, Oregon is not a community property state.
What Is Community Property?
Generally speaking, community property is marital property. Marital property is everything that either you or your spouse earned or acquired during the marriage, unless you agree otherwise. For example, the money that you and your spouse earned separately at work, but both put into a joint checking account, and used to pay household bills is considered martial property. Similarly, the household furniture, electronics, and vehicles are marital property if paid for using joint funds.
What is Separate Property?
Separate property are assets belongs only to one spouse. Examples of separate property could be:
- Property subject to a prenuptial agreement and defined prior to marriage as belonging to only one spouse,
- Property acquired before the marriage and kept separate from the other spouse or the marriage, and
- Property acquired during the marriage, but with funds obtained prior to the marriage and kept separate from the other spouse or marriage.
How Do I Keep What’s Mine?
If you are going through a divorce– and if you have any assets of significance– don’t attempt to go it alone. Get a lawyer as an advocate on your side. It’s especially important for you to do this prior to purchasing, acquiring, selling, or otherwise transferring property in anticipation of a divorce or in the middle of a divorce. A divorce judge has the power to take into account improper transfers of property as part of the divorce.