Division of property during a divorce may cause stress and arguments. Oregon law aims to help a couple divide their property in a fair or equitable fashion.
What is equitable division? The process itself considers personal factors and ultimately results in the judge deciding who gets what. Discover more about what the process looks like.
Is equitable the same as equal?
An equitable division differs in a few ways from equal. Those states that prefer an equal split take an accounting of all assets and debts and assign exactly half to each spouse. However, this does not always work out favorably to one or both. In Oregon, the court may divide things based on several factors, including things such as:
- The duration of the marriage
- The actual earnings and earning potential of the spouses
- The emotional contribution each spouse made to the relationship
- The role of one spouse or the other as the main caregiver of children
- The way the marriage ended
The judge may then decide to divide property according to an equitable split. It may wind up equal, or it may not. Debt follows the same split in most cases.
What property qualifies for division?
Marital property includes those assets, tangible and intangible, that a couple accumulates during their marriage. This may include contributions to retirement accounts, cash and real estate. Debt accumulated during the marriage, whether in one name or both, qualifies for division. Anything a spouse owned before the marriage or set out in a prenuptial agreement as the separate property remains in his or her sole possession.
Spouses going through a divorce should remain open to compromise. If they cannot, a judge will make the call and chart the course for their financial future.