What Happens To My Jewelry If I Get An Oregon Divorce?
What happens to jewelry during a divorce depends in part on how the jewelry was obtained. Assuming that the jewelry was not a gift between spouses and was acquired during the marriage, the item will be considered a “marital asset” that is usually subject to equal division. Under Oregon’s equitable distribution framework, the court first determines which assets are marital and which are separate. It will then consider the contributions that each party made to those assets.
Next, the court will consider the circumstances of the marriage to determine how to divide the assets between the parties. For example, courts will consider the length of the marriage, the total amount of assets available for division, and the particular needs of the parties. Notably, courts consider non-monetary contributions, such as homemaking and child-rearing, the same as monetary contributions.
Not all jewelry will be considered a marital asset. Jewelry that was acquired before the marriage, or which was gifted from one spouse to another will usually be considered separate property. This often includes expensive items such as the engagement ring. Gifts from friends and family members or items included in an inheritance are considered to be separate property unless the donor intended to gift the items to both spouses. However, even if jewelry is considered a separate asset, that does not necessarily prevent it from being considered in an equitable distribution analysis. This is a unique area of Oregon divorce law in that a court can, in certain circumstances, consider and divide a spouse’s separate assets.
Whether a piece or collection of jewelry is at risk in an Oregon divorce is a fact-specific determination. Anyone who is considering divorce and is concerned about what will happen to their jewelry should reach out to a dedicated Oregon divorce attorney.