Skip to main content
Paul J DeBast

Paul DeBast’s Answers

20 total

  • Real property distributed to me in divorce over a year ago ( 2 residences ) and ex has not signed a deed to transfer interest.

    The divorce papers say that my ex wife shall be responsible for the preparation, signing and recording of a deed, transferring the real property as required by this judgement. I cannot refinance for 2 years because of bankruptcy we both did right...

    Paul’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    Oregon law permits a divorce judgment to transfer the title to land from one spouse to the other without the need for a deed. If your divorce judgment was entered in the county where the property is and the judgment included the legal description of the property and used the words of conveyance such as "The following described property is hereby conveyed and awarded to wife free and clear of any interest of husband" then no deed would be required and title companies will recognize the transfer and issue title insurance based only on the divorce judgment. If your judgment does not contain conveyance language then you will need a deed. If your ex-spouse will not sign a deed you may want to consider commencing a contempt action against your ex-spouse using self-help forms available at the courthouse or online.

    See question 
  • If I file for divorce does my husband have any right to any money I might receive from a pending malpractice suit?

    The lawsuit only involves myself and my health

    Paul’s Answer

    I agree with Diane Gruber. I would add that generally these settlements are viewed as the exclusive separate property of the injured party. Here is what our Oregon Court of Appeals has said about this issue in Fuernsteiner-Perin and Perin, 211 Or App 23, 31, 153 P.3d 151 (2007):

    "Finally, we turn to husband's potential award from his pursuit of an underinsured motorist claim. The claim results from an automobile accident that husband was involved in during the marriage. He suffered serious injuries from the accident, and litigation was commenced against a third-party tortfeasor because of those injuries. At trial, the jury found in husband's favor, and he was awarded a sum of money. Now, husband seeks an additional sum of money from his own insurer, alleging that the driver who caused his injuries was underinsured. However, he does not know what recovery will occur from that claim, if any. The law treats personal injury awards as a form of property. Pugh and Pugh, 138 Or.App. 63, 68, 906 P.2d 829 (1995), rev. den., 322 Or. 644, 912 P.2d 375 (1996). But, if the injured spouse can show that the other spouse had no part in the action or settlement and claims no damages for loss of consortium, the personal injury award should be treated as separate property belonging to the injured spouse. Peterman and Peterman, 94 Or.App. 190, 193, 764 P.2d 962, rev. den., 307 Or. 514, 770 P.2d 595 (1989). In this case, wife had no part in the action, nor does she seek a claim for damages for loss of consortium. We conclude, therefore, that husband has sufficiently rebutted the presumption of equal contribution as to his personal injury claim."

    See question 
  • ORS. 112.315: Please explain in plain English this statute.

    And apply the case where the surviving ex-spouse lives outside of US. How will this fact affect the Law? Thanks

    Paul’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    The statute is quoted below. It was created to prevent the situation where a divorced person makes out a will before the divorce takes place saying "if I die before my spouse does, I leave everything to my spouse. Then later, after the will was signed, the divorce takes place and the testator (will maker) forgets to change the will so that the will still leaves assets to the surviving ex-spouse. The statute prevents that from occurring and assumes that the testator would not want the surviving ex-spouse to receive anything hence the law presumes the ex-spouse predeceased the testator and hence gets nothing.

    112.315 Revocation by divorce or annulment. Unless a will evidences a different intent of the testator, the divorce or annulment of the marriage of the testator after the execution of the will revokes all provisions in the will in favor of the former spouse of the testator and any provision therein naming the former spouse as executor, and the effect of the will is the same as though the former spouse did not survive the testator.

    See question 
  • Is it necessary to spell out details of all asset in a divorce paper if the asset is agreed upon and already divided

    I lived in Oregon Multnomah county. My spouse and I have reached agreement on the major areas of a divorce including the asset and property division. The asset has already been divided and transferred to individual accounts. There are no asse...

    Paul’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    The only safe answer is yes, you should list all assets. That is because ORS 107.452 (quoted below)provides that a case can be reopened to divide assets discovered after the divorce is complete. The only way to be sure a spouse cannot claim the asset was not disclosed is to list it in the divorce judgment before it is signed.
    107.452 Reopening case if assets discovered after entry of judgment. (1) 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.
    (2) If the court finds that the assets were inadvertently omitted from the distribution of the marital estate, the court shall make such distribution of the omitted assets as is just and proper in all the circumstances.
    (3) If the court finds that the assets were intentionally concealed and thereby not included in the distribution of the marital estate, the court may order:
    (a) The division of the appreciated value of the omitted assets;
    (b) The forfeiture of the omitted assets to the injured party;
    (c) A compensatory judgment in favor of the injured party;
    (d) A judgment in favor of the injured party as punitive damages; or
    (e) Any other distribution as may be just and proper in all the circumstances.
    (4) The court may award attorney fees on any motion filed pursuant to this section. The court shall award attorney fees to the moving party if the court finds that assets were intentionally concealed and thereby not included in the distribution of the marital estate.

    See question 
  • Would I be responsible for spouses medical debt named in divorce papers?

    My ex-husband has medical debt dating back to 2012. We were married at the time and I was paying for insurance through my work. We were divorced February 2014 and the medical bills were listed as his debt in the divorce paperwork. I am now being s...

    Paul’s Answer

    Like many states, Oregon has a "family expense" law which makes husbands and wives who are living together in the same household jointly liable for family expenses which include essential medical expenses of the husband, wife and the children. The law says the obligation to pay jointly ceases as of the date the parties separate and begin living in separate households. Here is the text of the law:
    108.040 Liability of parents for expenses of family and education of children. (1)(a) The expenses of the family and the education of the minor children are chargeable upon the property of both husband and wife, or either of them, and in relation thereto they may be sued jointly or separately.
    (b) As used in this subsection:
    (A) “Expenses of the family” includes only expenses incurred for the benefit of a member of the family.
    (B) “Family” means the husband, wife and minor children of the husband and wife.
    (2) Notwithstanding subsection (1) of this section, after the separation of one spouse from the other spouse, a spouse is not responsible for debts contracted by the other spouse after the separation except for debts incurred for maintenance, support and education of the minor children of the spouses.
    (3) For the purposes of subsection (2) of this section, spouses shall be considered separated if they are living in separate residences without intention of reconciliation at the time the debt is incurred. The court may consider the following factors in determining whether the spouses are separated in addition to such other factors as may be relevant:
    (a) Whether the spouses subsequently reconciled.
    (b) The number of separations and reconciliations of the spouses.
    (c) The length of time the spouses lived apart.
    (d) Whether the spouses intend to reconcile.
    (e) Whether the spouses have filed a petition for separation or dissolution.
    If you were living together as man and wife at the time the debt was incurred, you ar jointly liable and the creditor can sue you. You would typically ask the divorce court to determine how much of the obligation should be reimbursed to you by your husband or exhusband.

    See question 
  • Can my life insurance beneficiary be dictated to me by my soon to be ex-wife in our divorce settlement?

    In the divorce agreement my soon to be ex-wife's lawyer wants us to keep my life insurance of $250,000, in her name as beneficiary, and she pay the premium. I want to change my beneficiary to my brother, or I may want to drop that life insurance a...

    Paul’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    In 1981 the Oregon Legislature adopted a policy about life insurance in relation to divorce cases. The policy reads as follows:
    107.810 Policy. It is the policy of the State of Oregon to encourage persons obligated to support other persons as the result of a dissolution or annulment of marriage or as the result of a legal separation to obtain or to cooperate in the obtaining of life insurance adequate to provide for the continued support of those persons in the event of the obligor’s death.

    In the following sections of the law, judges are authorized to require a divorced spouse with a child or spousal support obligation to maintain existing insurance or acquire new insurance or cooperate with the other spouse in allowing the spouse to obtain insurance on the life of the person who owes the support. Usually the argument comes down to a question of how much insurance should be required and at what cost?

    See question 
  • I want to divorce a man that abandoned me 8 years ago out of country. I have no clue where he is at-- what can i do?

    About 10 years ago in Virginia i married an Estonian. He was in a band and was spending all hours at night, quit his job so that we had to move in with friends cause i was not able to support him and his dream. I was young and eventually got fed u...

    Paul’s Answer

    Oregon law allows you to file for divorce and then apply to the court for permission to serve your spouse via publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where the divorce has been filed. Typically, before this is allowed, judges expect varying levels of effort to find the person and this sometimes includes hiring an investigator. Every judge has his and her own standards for what is expected in terms of efforts to find and serve prior to publication. This type of legal work is difficult to accomplish without the help of an attorney.

    See question 
  • How can I exclude my soon to be ex from making medical decisions for me during our divorce?

    My wife and I have been separated (never filed any papers) for more than 7 years. We are now in the midst of a high conflict divorce. I am terrified that, should anything happen to me, she would be able to exclude my current partner, parents, si...

    Paul’s Answer

    Like many states, Oregon has adopted a law which permits you to sign a document called an "Advance Directive" The document allows you to designate a third party to make critical health care decisions for you when you are not conscious or able to do so. Forms are available at hospitals and doctor's offices. Most attorneys have the forms available as well.

    See question 
  • Are there attorneys that specialize in the preparation of QDROS? And if so, how do I reach them?

    Wife and husband were co-petitioners in divorce filed and signed off by The Court yesterday. I've been given the responsibility for pursuing QDROS for my ex-husband's union pension fund and 401(k). He and I agree on the numbers and I have contac...

    Paul’s Answer

    Yes, there are several lawyers in the Portland metropolitan area who specialize in this work. I have listed some of them below:

    Dan Ricks, Portland @ Kennedy King (503) 228-6191

    Robert Rosenthal, Portland Ph: (503) 6754377

    Diane Kerns, Portland Ph: (503) 274-7979

    Ann Mercer, Portland (503) 281-1941

    Clark Williams,in Salem (503)585-4422

    Paula Hammond - she says she has fast turnaround
    14523 Westlake
    Lake Oswego 97035
    Phone 503 684-3975

    See question 
  • Do we just need to start over the process and go through a divorce?

    I filed for an annulment in Dec. 1993 in fresno California and the case was never completed. I now live in Oregon and the other party in Hawaii. Do we just need to start over the process and go through a divorce?

    Paul’s Answer

    One of you must file again in one state or the other. You can file for a dissolution or for an annulment even though your marriage was not solemnized here if you have resided here for at least six months at the time you file. Grounds for annulment include: (1) bigamous marriage (one party was already validly married; or (2) lack of legal age; (3) lack of sufficient understanding; or (4) consent to the marriage was obtained by force or by fraud.

    See question