Divorce & Legal Separation
Divorce can be one of the most stressful life events a person can experience. You may feel great sadness, anger, confusion, grief, relief, or any number of conflicting emotions. The decisions you make to finalize your divorce may affect you and your loved ones for years to come, and the entire process can often feel overwhelming.
It is essential that the attorney you retain can guide you through this process with knowledge, skill, and compassion, and that you trust and feel comfortable with them. I will listen carefully to your questions and concerns, and provide you with a roadmap of options tailored to your particular case. I am a very strong negotiator, and my goal is always to spare you the expense and stress of litigating your divorce. However, if litigation becomes necessary, I am a skilled and strategic advocate in the courtroom.
Divorce in Oregon
Oregon is a “no fault” divorce state. What this means is that you and your spouse do not need to provide any reason for your divorce other than that irreconcilable differences having caused the breakdown of your marriage. Oregon is also an “equitable distribution” state, which means that the law requires that property and assets acquired during the marriage be distributed between both parties fairly and equitably. This same principal also applies to joint debts acquired during the marriage.
Finalizing a divorce does not happen overnight. From start to finish, it can take anywhere from 6-9 months to complete your divorce, particularly if a trial is involved. If you and your spouse are able to reach a mutually negotiated agreement prior to your trial date however, your divorce may be finalized sooner than that.
High asset divorce
“Equitable distribution” does not necessarily mean a 50/50 split of all marital assets straight down the middle. In particular, for couples with significant assets – multiple real properties, closely held and/or co-owned businesses, high yearly incomes, inherited wealth, multiple bank accounts, stock portfolios, and more – divorce can entail an additional level of complexity. Sometimes one spouse has assumed responsibility for managing the marital assets, and divorce can leave the non-managing spouse exposed. Even if both spouses are knowledgeable about their joint marital asset portfolio, divorce can create uncertainty as to how to best divide such assets fairly and also account for each party’s future tax liabilities. I work closely with financial professionals as needed – CPAs, tax attorneys, business evaluators, commercial and residential real estate appraisers, etc – to ensure that you receive an equitable portion of your joint martial estate, with the least long-term financial cost to you.
A legal separation in Oregon can involve resolving the same issues as in a divorce, such as custody, child or spousal support, property division, etc. There may be good reasons to legally separate prior to finalizing a divorce. For instance, if you and your spouse have acquired substantial assets during your marriage, there could be a tax benefit to postponing a final split of those assets. In Oregon, if you and your spouse choose to legally separate for this or any other reason, you may easily convert your legal separation to a divorce for up to two years following the legal separation.