High Net Worth Divorce: Investments
Property divisions are one of the most highly-contested issues in Oregon divorce cases. However, the issue becomes even more challenging in divorces involving couples with a high net worth. High net worth generally refers to couples with a combined net worth of at least $1 million.
Those considering or amid a divorce should contact the high net-worth divorce attorneys at Gearing Rackner & McGrath. The attorneys at the firm have a wealth of knowledge and experience handling complex high-net-worth divorces. The lawyers at Gearing Rackner & McGrath understand that ending a marriage is rarely a straightforward process. We provide our clients with respect, attention, and confidentiality during their separation and divorce stages. Contact the firm at 503-222-9116 to discuss the best course of action during your divorce.
What is Equitable Distribution in Oregon?
Under Oregon law, marital property acquired as the direct result of the parties during the marriage is subject to equitable distribution. Equitable division does not necessarily yield equal division, but rather, in a way that creates fair or equitable results for each party. Unlike some other states, Oregon does not maintain a statutory list of factors for the court to consider when making equitable distribution determinations. Accordingly, judges have a fair amount of flexibility when undergoing this endeavor.
Are Financial Investments Marital Property in Oregon?
Under Oregon law, pensions, retirement accounts, brokerage accounts, real estate, and business investments are marital property subject to equitable distribution. However, equitable distribution only applies to the amounts accumulated during the marriage. Some assets, such as those held in publicly traded securities like 401(k), Roth IRA, and IRA, can be valued and divided more quickly than others.
Pensions and other complex investment accounts are subject to a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). In these cases, an actuary must value and divide the income, an attorney must write the QDRO, a judge must approve the QDRO, and a plan administrator must administer the funds.
When are Financial Investments Separate Property?
In some instances, the law considers financial investments separate property. Financial assets may be deemed independent in cases such as the following:
- Only one spouse owned the investment before marriage;
- The investment was inherited or gifted to one spouse; or
- One party purchased the investment from proceeds, rent, or monies from that spouse’s separate property.
Further, in some cases, any increase in the value of the separate property may be considered independent. However, if the increase resulted from the other party's efforts, it may be subject to division. Moreover, a legal prenuptial agreement can precede Oregon's equitable distribution laws. These agreements can prevent a court from having absolute power to determine asset division.
How to Protect Investments and Assets During a Divorce
Prenuptial or postnuptial agreements are one of the best tools to protect one’s assets in the event of a high-asset divorce. Additionally, keeping meticulous records, separate accounts, and consulting with an experienced attorney is critical to ensuring a just and favorable outcome.
Speak with an Experienced Oregon Divorce Lawyer About Your Situation Today
If you are contemplating filing for an Oregon divorce shortly and have significant investments causing you concern, contact the knowledgeable Oregon divorce attorneys at Gearing, Rackner & McGrath, LLP. As respected divorce lawyers with decades of experience, we can effectively handle your Portland divorce and any other related issues that may come up throughout the process, including the determination of spousal support. We also make modifications to existing child support and spousal support orders. Our Oregon divorce lawyers provide customized legal advice and solutions for clients throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, including in Multnomah County, Clackamas County, Washington County, Clatsop County, Columbia County, Yamhill County, Clark County, Cowlitz County, Skamania County, Klickitat County. To learn more about how our award-winning attorneys can assist you in a spousal support or modification order, call us at (503) 222-9116 or connect with us by completing our secure online contact form.