April 24, 2008

New Case Law: I might not have bought it, but its my property too.

As a Portland Oregon divorce law firm, Stephens & Margolin LLP is dedicated to keeping up to date on Oregon Court of Appeals and Oregon Supreme Court opinions. As a service of The Oregon Divorce Blog, we will be providing updates as new opinions come out.

On April 23, 2008, the Oregon Court of Appeals published an opinion in Nelson and Nelson, in which the court further explained its treatement of the presumption of equal contribution

In Nelson and Nelson, the question before the court was whether or not a piece of real property should have been included in the division of the parties’ assets.  During the parties’ marriage, the parties’ acquired a piece of real property which had $95,070 in equity at the time of the parties’ divorce.  The trial court ruled that Husband had rebutted the presumption of equal contribution with regards to the property and awarded all of the equity and the property to Husband. 

The Court of Appeals overturned the trial court’s ruling.  Even though Husband had made the financial contributions to the acquisition and maintenance of the real property, he did not prove that wife had not contriubted equally to it.  Citing Owens-Koenig and Koenig for the proposition that “when one spouse ‘holds assets separately, and the other makes a disproportionately greater nonfinancial contribution to the marital estate through homemaking, child care, or some other form of undercompensated service * * * the presumption of equal contribution is not overcome with respect to the spouse whose contribution is at least partly indirect and nonfinancial’,” the court held that Wife was entitled to one-half of the equity in the real property.

You can review the full opinion in Nelson and Nelson at http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/A131724.htm.

If you have any questions about appeallate law, attorney fees or any family law or divorce legal issue, please contact Daniel Margolin or C. Sean Stephens at Stephens & Margolin LLP