Oregon Is An Equitable Distribution State
Oregon is an equitable distribution state. That means property in a divorce is divided fairly — sometimes that is 50/50, sometimes it isn’t. The Court has a wide margin of discretion in dividing property, because there are many ways to determine what “fair” means. For example, we can look at what has accumulated during the marriage. We can look at what existed before the marriage. We can see what has happened with retirement accounts and inheritance. Everyone is in a unique circumstance, and the following points will help move you toward your goals:
Know what you want from the beginning.
Your attorney will need direction and will have questions for you when you first meet.
For example: Do you want the family home, or do you want cash? Do you want to split your retirement account, or would you prefer to keep it and divide something else?
You don’t want to think about these issues for the first time at the consultation. Thinking about how to split assets and debts before a consultation will allow you and your attorney to get on the same page right away.
List out the assets and debts that exist.
One way to help prepare for this consultation is to list your assets and debts completely. Fill this worksheet out and bring it with you to a consultation. It will help you and your attorney navigate through the next steps of filing for divorce.
Start gathering documents right away.
Download this checklist. You need copies (not originals) of everything on this list if it exists. Compile all this information in an organized manner, indexed if possible. Gathering these documents prior to filing for divorce may help ensure that you have free access to this information. Spouses will take documentation and hide it from the other party.
All of these documents are generally discoverable. That means that each side will have to produce them to the other side. By doing this initial legwork now, you will save your attorney a significant amount time, which translates to spending less money on attorney fees and being more prepared when it comes time to help a judge make a decision.