The last thing we’re thinking about when planning the perfect wedding is which one of us might get that perfect dining room table we buy a few months later. No one wants to think about how possessions will be divided in a divorce before we even get married. But what happens if you do get divorced, and it comes down to a judge deciding who gets what? This is a brief overview of marital property laws in Oregon.
Marital Property Law
Marital property, as the name suggests, refers to all the possessions and interests acquired after a couple gets married. While a few states that have begun to recognize the concept of "community property," in which all marital property is considered equally owned, and is equally divided after a divorce, the majority of states, like Oregon, have no community property laws on the books. This can allow for more flexibility in property division when a couple gets a divorce, but more uncertainty as well.
Marital Property Laws in Oregon
As noted above, state marital property laws can vary. The details of Oregon’s marital property statutes are listed in the chart below.
Marital Property and Separate Property
As a general rule, any property you bought or received during the marriage becomes marital property, regardless of whose name it is in. Because marital property is jointly owned, it will get jointly divided should you get divorced. On the other hand, property that one spouse owns before the marriage is normally treated as separate property and is not subject to division in a divorce. Some property, like inheritance or a gift, may be considered separate property even if a spouse received it during the marriage.
If you and your spouse can come to your own agreement regarding marital property division, a court will generally accept it during a divorce. Absent an agreement and with no community property statute in Oregon, courts will usually determine a “fair” property division. In most cases, what is fair is defined by an even split of everything the couple owned jointly. However, a court could decide that an unequal property split is fair.
Oregon Marital Property Laws: Related Resources
Divorce and marital property matters are legally and emotionally complex. You can find more information and resources in FindLaw's section on Divorce and Property. You can also contact an Oregon divorce attorney if you would like legal advice regarding a divorce matter.