Residential Property Considerations in a High Net Worth Divorce
Ending a marriage is never easy. It involves both emotional and practical considerations that make the process of divorce and splitting a couple’s lives and home difficult. One of the biggest concerns divorcing couples have concerns their residence. Who will keep the house?
The family law attorneys of Gearing, Rackner & McGrath understand the laws concerning property distribution and can help you and your family resolve a high net divorce with sensitivity and skill.
Property Distribution Laws in Oregon
Oregon is an equitable distribution state. This means that assets and debts are divided fairly, not necessarily half and half, between the spouses. A variety of factors are taken into consideration when splitting assets and debts between a divorcing couple. For example, the length of the marriage, age, health, income, education, employability of each party, and the financial and noneconomic contributions made during the marriage could all be considered.
The first step is to determine what types of property the couple owns. Property is classified as either separate or marital. Separate property was acquired before the marriage or might be something like a gift or inheritance given to one spouse. This will generally stay with the original owner, but not always if that is fair.
If a couple can decide on how they would like to split their property after a divorce, they may do so without the help of a third party. However, if this cannot be done independently or through the arbitration process, a judge will determine how property and debts are divided. High net worth couples are more likely to have a prenuptial agreement, which supersedes state property distribution laws.
Presumption of Equal Contribution
One of the key features of equitable distribution laws is the presumption of equal contribution to assets and debts acquired during the marriage. The courts will assume that both spouses contributed equally to all marital property, even if it is under only one spouse’s name.
The courts do consider contributions other than financial to be valid, however. For example, if one spouse stayed home to raise the children while the other worked, they both would have contributed to marital assets. The stay-at-home parent may not have paid for the property but, they freed the other up to work and saved the couple the costs of outside childcare.
Who Keeps the House?
For many couples, their residence is their most valuable asset, questioning what will happen to it.
The family home will be considered like other assets and distributed fairly as the courts see fit (if the couple cannot agree on what to do). The house may need to be sold, and the proceeds split by the spouses, or one spouse can keep the house while the other receives a fair amount of other assets according to the factors considered in equitable distribution states.
Depending on the couple’s circumstances, the courts may order something else. Distribution of marital property is subject to the court’s discretion. Divorce cases involving high net worth are multi-faceted and consist of more variables than standard divorce cases. An experienced complex divorce attorney should always be consulted to protect both assets and rights.
Contact an Oregon Divorce Attorney
The family law attorneys at Gearing, Rackner & McGrath are committed to providing their clients with exemplary service and legal representation. They are familiar with complex divorce intricacies and can help with any property division issues you may have.
If you are in the process of splitting assets with your former spouse in Oregon or Washington, contact the experienced attorneys at Gearing, Rackner & McGrath. To learn more about how our award-winning attorneys can help you with your specific needs, call us at (503) 222-9116 or fill out our online contact form.