Category : Oregon Divorce

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Omit at Your Own Cost in the State of Oregon


The distribution of assets during a divorce is imminent in the majority of cases. Also in a majority of cases comes the wave of hurt, disappointment and distrust. So what do you do if you think that a spouse is concealing assets during the settlement process? Sometimes individuals are curious about their obligations to disclose assets in divorce. There are many discovery tools available to lawyers to help discover assets a party may own, so it’s never a good idea for anyone to intentionally conceal anything during a divorce. There are also serious ethical consequences for lawyers that assist clients in concealing assets during divorce. Every state has its own varying laws and statutes on this particular matter but Oregon has a finite list of rules to follow in regards to assets.

Oregon Law

Under Oregon Divorce Law ORS 107.452, that states “A court that entered a judgment of marital annulment, dissolution or separation shall reopen the case upon the motion of either party if the moving party alleges that significant assets belonging to either or both of the parties:(a) Existed at the time of the entry of the judgment; and (b) Were not discovered until after the entry of the judgment. However, If the assets were accidentally or inadvertently omitted from the distribution,the court will divide the asset using the same legal standard as if the asset were discovered prior to the divorce. The court will determine whether or not the assets were omitted purposely or accidentally depending on the evidence provided, and this varies on a case to case basis.

Penalties & Distributions

Now, If the court does find evidence of intentional concealment, it can and will, do a number of different things such as:

  • Demand and order a division of the appreciated value of the omitted assets
  • Award the forfeiture of the omitted assets to the injured party (the spouse who had assets concealed from them)
  • Put in place a compensatory judgment in favor of the injured party
  • Order judgment in favor of the injured party as punitive damages; or any other distribution as may be just and proper in all the circumstances.

It is highly important that when going through a divorce, all of the proper paperwork is filled out, all assets, debts and properties are recorded and anything else that you feel may be pertinent to your case, be brought up and documented. No matter how big, or how small you may think the issue is. As you can see, some of the repercussions for not openly displaying everything up front can be harsh. These divorce laws in Oregon are just a few that can drastically and dramatically affect a divorce. Know all information and laws before really delving into anything, just as with being informed on anything, research is key.

Social Security & Alimony


It isn’t typical for an alimony case to be associated with the U.S Supreme Court, however, in one case from the state of Oregon this is exactly what happened. The dispute between spouses over alimony from Linn County, Oregon in 2009 finally came to a conclusion after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case entirely.

The case involved a spouse who was disputing the fact that he had to pay alimony of any kind, even though he was ordered to do so under the divorce statutes of the state of Oregon. The husband decreed that he couldn’t pay alimony as his only means of income came from Social Security benefits.

Many things can complicate the finalization of any divorce, especially in the areas of child support or spousal support. Even if the spouses generally agree on issues of property division, child support, or spousal support, the process is no easy task.  More often, there is some disagreement over issues, such as one spouse’s obligation to pay or how the division of marital debt should be accomplished.

In this particular case, both the Oregon Court of Appeals and the Oregon Supreme Court refused to hear the case, which involved the husband’s obligation to pay alimony. The husband, whose only income is provided by disability benefits from the Social Security and Veterans Administrations, argued his VA disability benefits cannot be used to determine spousal support obligations because such payments are solely intended for the welfare of the veteran. He was technically true in his argument, but the family law court trumped this rule in favor of the wife in question.


The husband was ordered to pay $1,000 per month in alimony to his ex-wife based on the combined total of his SSDI and VA benefits. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (FSPA) specifically states benefits for veterans are subject to divorce judgments; meaning whatever ruling the divorce court made would overrule all previous rulings or acts put into place. This federal law was passed in response to a Supreme Court holding in 1981 that protected military retirement funds from spousal support awards.

None of the appellate courts apparently found legal merit in the husband’s argument that the FSPA was not intended to be applied to disability benefits for veterans’ spouses.

Fighting his way all the way past multiple failed attempts, the husband finally took  his case to the U.S. Supreme court, where the case was thrown out. The husband was ordered to pay his alimony and in turn lost money through legal fees and court fees in order to have his case turned away again.

Being Amicable Pays Dividends
Resolving financial matters is a vital part of the divorce process, as both spouses have a vital interest in securing an independent future and maintaining their lifestyles to the best extent possible. This being said, however, fighting as far as the U.S Supreme Court, after failed attempts in smaller court, is just a waste of time. Laws are set in place to look out for the best interest of children and to financially support spouses after the dissolution is finalized. Moral of the story: Being amicable, making a plan, and agreeing, always works best.