February 2, 2012

New Case Law – Presumption of Equal Contribution

On December 14, 2011, the Oregon Court of Appeals decided Loomis and Loomis.

In this case, the wife owned a 60% interest in a piece of property prior to the marriage, and acquired the other 40% interest during the marriage. The trial court awarded the entire property to the wife as a pre-marital asset and did not include it in the division of marital property in the divorce. The Court of Appeals found that the wife’s 60% interest acquired prior to the marriage was her separate property, and not a marital asset. It also stated that the prenuptial agreement signed by the parties overrode any interest the husband might have had in the appreciation on the wife’s 60% interest under ORS 107.105(1)(f) or the Kunze line of cases. However, the Court found that the 40% interest that the wife acquired during the marriage was a marital asset. The Court stated that this interest was subject to the ORS 107.105(1)(f) presumption of equal contribution, and that the wife did not rebut that presumption where the husband made some financial contribution to the purchase, he was making financial contributions to the couple’s joint finances, and the couple used the property for “joint marital endeavors.”

The entire opinion can be found here.