Law School Case Brief
Wolfe & Wolfe - 248 Or. App. 582, 273 P.3d 915 (2012)
Under Or. Rev. Stat. § 107.105(1)(f) (2007), a court's initial inquiry is to determine when a disputed asset was acquired. If the asset was acquired during the marriage, the court applies the statutory presumption, unless either party has rebutted it. If the presumption of equal contribution is effectively rebutted, then the court decides how to distribute that marital asset without regard to any presumption and, instead, considers only what is just and proper in all the circumstances, including the proven contributions of the parties to the asset.
Parties were husband and wife who met each other while husband was completing his internship and wife, who was a nurse practitioner, was working at the same hospital in 1974. They got married and lived together until they separated in 2006. In the marital dissolution proceeding, the trial court awarded the husband his interest in a family trust and two investment accounts as his separate property. Wife appealed.
Is the wife entitled to a portion of assets that were acquired during the marriage of the parties?
The court resolved that, in light of the husband's limited commingling of the property and the long-term nature of the marriage, it was just and proper for the wife to receive a portion of the assets. The judgment was modified to award the wife an equalizing judgment of $2 million. Despite the fact that the disputed property was separately held by the husband, he intended, at least until the marriage deteriorated, for the property to be available to the family when necessary.
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