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Morton and Morton

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 09-26-2012
Case #: A146005
Hadlock, J., for the Court; Ortega, P.J.; and Sercombe, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/Publications/A146005.pdf

Family Law: With regards to an inheritance, a party may rebut the presumption of equal contribution towards marital assets by demonstrating that one spouse did not contribute to acquiring the inheritance and that an intestate decedent's donative intent was that the spouse be excluded.

Husband appealed the trial court's division of marital property. The trial court, when dividing the marital property, found that the property acquired during the marriage was not acquired due to equal contributions from the parties, and awarded large portions of the inheritance wife received from her father to wife. Additionally, the trial court found that debt husband incurred was not marital debt and assigned it solely to him. On appeal, Husband assigned as error: 1) that wife did not rebut the presumption that the inheritance was acquired due to equal contributions; 2) that the trial court failed to create a just and proper division of the property; and 3) that the court erred in not treating the debt as marital debt. The Court of Appeals found that an inference of father's donative intent was reasonably drawn from wife's brother's testimony to that effect; that the trial court correctly engaged in analysis of the commingled property; and that the trial court's concern for wife's ability to support herself supported assigning husband's debt to husband. Affirmed.