A recently published Oregon opinion found that a wife's wedding ring was her own separate property, and not a marital asset that was "acquired during the marriage." The Oregon Court of Appeals disagreed with the grail court's finding that the $8,320 ring was a marital asset. Although there was scant evidence on the record of whether husband followed the traditional custom of giving the ring to the bride as a gift after the wedding, the parties did agree that the ring had always been treated as "wife's ring." Given the limited amount of evidence, the Oregon court inferred that the ring was a gift received by wife either shortly before or shortly after the marriage. It held that the precise timing was not relevant because in either case the ring should have been treated as wife's separate property. Under Oregon law, had it been given before the marriage, it would have been treated as premarital property.
Two proposed pieces of Michigan legislation aim to create a dramatic shift in the distribution of assets for divorces where a spouse owns a business that prospers during the marriage. Presently, the law treats the growth or appreciation of a business occurring during the marriage as marital property, resulting in a 50/50 split between the spouses. The new law proposes a complete policy change and would generally classify appreciation in the business during the marriage as property of the spouse owning the business.
Almost everything and everyone is divided in divorce: from friends and in-laws to the house and furniture. When a divorcing couple owns a business, it's almost a certainty that the business is about to undergo major changes, too.