Divorce – Case Law Update – Division of Marital Debts

free-vector-scales-of-justice_099380_Scales_of_justiceA recent Oregon Court of Appeals case addresses the proper analysis for the division of marital debts.

In Cirina and Cirina, 271 Or App 161 (2015), Husband’s father paid off the $130,000 mortgage on the parties’ home during the marriage.  Husband presented a promissory note to repay his father the $130,000, signed only by Husband.  The trial court held that Husband was responsible for the entire debt, primarily becauseWife had not signed the promissory note.  The Court of Appeals held that the trial court applied the wrong analysis to the debt, explaining that marital debts are presumptively divided evenly between the parties, even without one of the party’s signature.  The case was sent back to the trial court to determine whether the debt should be considered marital or personal.