Portland Divorce Lawyers Blog | Goldberg Jones

March Madness: Goldberg Jones Bracket Challenge


Who’s on Fire? Who is going to razzle-dazzle this tournament and take home the NCAA National Championship Trophy? With the Journey to the Tourney reaching its end, it is time to start predicting the teams that will duel it out to the end. However, the competition is not limited to the court—Goldberg Jones will be holding its annual Bracket Challenge.

Think your bracket has the best spread? Fill out the bracket at tournament.fantasysports.yahoo.com. Prove that your intuition and knowledge for the game and stats will prosper.  You can begin filling it out starting March 17th and ending March 21st. The dominating bracket will win a $250 Amazon Gift Card, that’s just money in your pocket.

Similar to last year, the Bracket Challenge is a winner-takes-all event. So start crafting your bracket ASAP to ensure total domination. To keep up with the action; make sure to follow our Twitter and give us a “like” on Facebook. It will be absolute madness and there is no reason to miss out.
Be part of the action and join us in the most exhilarating tournament that keeps your eyes locked on the TV and internet statistics. Get your gear on, check the stats, craft your bracket, save your seat and let the tourney unfold.

Filed under: Uncategorized No Comments

Spousal Support: What is Galimony?


Galimony is a non-legal term for spousal support that is paid by the wife to the husband. A quick search of Urban Dictionary also sites galimony as the alimony paid when a same-sex couple divorces.

Galimony is a riff off the term alimony, which has been replaced in the legal lexicon with “spousal support”.  In a divorce, it is imperative to understand when, and how, spousal support is applied.

Spousal support is a tool used by the courts to level the playing field for both parties exiting the marriage. Spousal support can be negotiated and agreed upon by both parties. If no agreement can be reached, the courts can determine if (and how much) spousal support is awarded.

There are several factors that influence spousal support. Some of these factors are: ability to pay, length of marriage, disparity of income between spouses, and the standard of living during the marriage. This is not an exhaustive list and it is important to remember the court may take additional information into consideration.

Spousal support is modifiable, but, the standard for modification of spousal support is exceptionally difficult requiring a substantial change in financial circumstances not known or intended at the date of divorce. It is imperative to be very diligent in negotiation up front because fixing it later is very difficult.

Filed under: Divorce No Comments

After the Divorce: Updating Important Documents

what to do after divorce

Changing Information on Important Documents after a Divorce

If there is anything that is strongly advised by a lawyer; it is to update any shared important documents between you and your ex-spouse. It is common to get caught up in the emotional stress that comes with divorce, but there are important issues that need to be addressed immediately. Failing to make changes to your will, life insurance, etc. might just leave your ex inheriting your property and assets.

It is normal to want those you love and your children to be taken care of if something were to happen to you. However, if your will is not updated with your current marital status and the status to whom will inherit your assets, this could be beneficial for the wrong person.

Keeping your will up to date becomes a vital priority during a divorce. Every State is different when it comes to how a divorce will affect a will. Oregon and Washington both have a provision that  states a divorce “will revoke all provisions in the will in favor of the former spouse”. This means your ex-spouse will be precluded from inheriting your assets. While this provision does provide some protection from your ex inheriting your assets,  it can create a great deal of ambiguity in how your final wishes are carried out. It is always best to update your will to ensure that your intent is crystal clear and your wishes are accurate and explicit.

There may be an unexpected incident leaving you unable to make decisions for yourself or your family. Your will dictates what initiatives need to be taken in such an event. Usually, your attorney will take on this job just to make sure things are taken care of during your incapacitation. Additionally, you must appoint an executor who will be responsible for ensuring your wishes are carried out as they are stated in your will. It is also advised that you let the person know they will be named as the executor in your will.

When meeting with your lawyer to discuss your decisions and the division of assets, it is wise to come in with an outline of “who gets what”, and “who does what.” When deciding on an executor it is in your best interest to choose someone you fully trust and will comply with your wishes after your death.

Consult your divorce lawyer if your ex is being unreasonable with any sort of insurance plan changes. These are assets that need to be protected to ensure that your loved ones receive everything that was intended for them. If updating documents after your divorce is something you are currently dealing with then talk with a divorce attorney and your insurance companies immediately to avoid any issues that could emerge.


Filed under: Divorce No Comments

How are Assets Divided in Divorce?

oregon division of assets

credit: Pixabay


Reaching the end of a divorce can be a drawn-out process with issues that seem impossible to resolve. The distribution of assets, custody (if there are children), and support, are three of the primary concerns couples face. “What is going to happen to the house? Who gets it? What about the furniture? The car? The remaining debts?”…etc.—are all questions that seem daunting to rectify. However, Oregon is an equitable distribution state and has established guidelines to help determine who gets what.

Equitable Distribution seeks to divide marital assets and debts (meaning any property or liabilities that were acquired during the marriage) in a way that both spouses leave the marriage with relatively equal footing. Each spouse is entitled to some percentage of the property—but it’s not always 50/50 when it comes to the division.

How is “equitable” calculated?

The courts vigilantly evaluate the documentation to determine how much each spouse contributed to the marriage and how they stand financially. Separate property is anything a spouse receives, such as a gift, inheritance, or other court settlements, and may not be shared, or distributed to the other party. All property is before the court, both separate and joint, however if you properly trace the funds, most times the courts will exclude the separate property from division.

What is most commonly distributed is marital property. The most common assets and debts that are considered marital property include: bank accounts, personal property, debts and loans made while as a couple, retirement/pension benefits, and the real estate that had been mutually shared. These are just a few examples and is not an exhaustive list.

For most couples, the marital home is often the largest asset acquired during the marriage and dividing it can seem impossible. Obviously the parties can agree to sell the home and divide the net proceeds fairly equally.  If one of the parties wants to keep the residence the common approach is also fairly simplified.  First, fair market value needs to be determined.  If the parties cannot agree to a value then hopefully they can agree to a joint appraisal and accept the value determined. Second, the marital equity is commonly the fair market value less the outstanding mortage(s) and lines of credit.  Costs of sale, including real estate fees, are generally not included in determining martial equity.  Third, is to determine how the party keeping the home is going to pay out the other party’s equity: refinance and cash out, greater distribution of other marital assets, assumption of greater debt, offset against spousal support etc.  It is important to remember that the only way to remove a party from the mortgage obligation is to refinance or sell the home.  At the very least you should have a refinance provision within a set period of time or requirement to sell the home at some point.

Retirement Accounts

Prior to reaching the final settlement, retirement accounts are reviewed as part of the divorce process. In the state of Oregon, a vested/unvested retirement account is considered marital property if acquired during the marriage. In the situation where the spouses cannot reach an agreement on the division of the pension, a pension valuator would be advised to determine the distribution.

If the couple can set an equal division on their own, then they will present the marital agreement to the court for review and approval. If any accounts cannot be divvied fairly by the parties, then the court will review the arguments presented at trial and ultimately determination on how best to divide the retirement accounts. It is normal to use a common valuation date and divide retirement accounts by keeping the retirement with the party who earned it as much as possible. Division of retirement accounts are nontaxable events if handled properly.


Using a mediator can be an effective tool for dividing up assets if both parties are cooperative. Through the mediation process the parties work with a mediator go through all assets, debts, or any conflicts. This initial review is documented. If the parties cannot come up with a settlement for their case then the mediation will take place with their standing lawyers and the mediator. Once an agreement is reached the settlement agreement is drafted and taken to the court for review and finally a divorce decree will be constructed.

Keep in mind that experts such as real estate agents, mediators, and pension valuators will add to the cost of the divorce. While the initial cost of the divorce might be higher, it is advised to take advantage of the help that is available at the time of settling a divorce.

Oregon’s Equitable Distribution is an exceedingly practical and convenient system to help aid the courts in the decision of the distributions for both parties.Reaching settlements is an essential piece of the divorce process and working with a lawyer (and other important experts) can maximize your ability to protect your assets and minimize your exposure to risk down the road. If you have questions regarding how assets are divided in an Oregon divorce, please give us a call.


Filed under: Divorce No Comments

Colin On Air: Legalization of Marijuana and Post-nuptial Agreements

post-nuptial agreements

credit: pixabay


Colin recently stopped by 750 The Game to discuss how legalizing marijuana might affect custody and divorce, and post-nuptial agreements.

The conversation about the legalization of marijuana was spawned from a recent article in the Willamette Weekly about the upcoming vote for legalizing pot. According to the article, “A recent poll shows eight of 10 Oregonians believe it’s a matter of when, not if, voters erase laws against recreational use of marijuana.”

The conversation regarding post-nuptial agreements was also sparked by recent rumors that Kaley Cuoco, one of the actresses on “Big Bang Theory”, asked her husband for a post-nuptial agreement.

To hear what Colin had to say about both of these topics, click on the video below.


How Much Does an Oregon Divorce Cost?

How much is an oregon divorce

credit: Charles Dawley


The cost of divorce in Oregon is affected by a number of factors and can vary greatly depending on the unique facts of your situation.  There are 3 major factors that will impact the final expense of your divorce: conflict, compromise, and counsel.


There is a positive correlation between the amount of conflict in a divorce and the cost— the greater the conflict, the more expensive the divorce. High conflict divorces present a greater level of complexity and there are often additional legal issues that will need to be addressed and resolved.


The only divorce judgment that doesn’t require at least some level of compromise is a default judgment.  Unless your soon-to-be ex-wife fails to take action, essentially forfeiting the case, you will be faced with making some compromises. Having a clear idea on what issues you are willing to make concessions and what isn’t open for negotiation can save you money and help your attorney craft a strategy to protect what matters most to you.

Refusal to compromise will draw out the divorce process and most likely lead to a divorce trial. Having a divorce settled in trial is costly and the outcome is at the judge’s discretion (within Oregon law).


Handling your divorce yourself can be tempting, particularly when you see the average hourly rate for a divorce lawyer can range between $200 and $400 an hour. While the price tag might be appealing, a do-it-yourself divorce can end up costing you more than working with an attorney from the get go. We have seen numerous men undertake a DIY divorce only to wind up in our office at a greater disadvantage. Hiring a good divorce attorney isn’t cheap, but it can end up saving you a significant amount of money in the long run. Protecting your assets and ensuring any support payments are accurately calculated and fair given the facts of the case can potentially save you thousands of dollars.

The cost of divorce in Oregon can vary greatly depending on your circumstance. Regardless if you intend to pursue a do-it-yourself divorce or you are ready to retain an attorney, educate yourself on your rights and the Oregon divorce process. An experienced Oregon divorce lawyer can provide insight and give you an accurate idea of what to expect from your divorce or custody case. An initial consultation is an excellent way to get the information you need, answers to your questions, and a personalized assessment of your unique situation.


Filed under: Divorce No Comments

4 Tactics for Fighting Parental Alienation


Parental Alienation is defined as “a social dynamic when a child expresses unjustified hatred or unreasonably strong dislike of one parent, making access by the rejected parent difficult or impossible. “

Father’s that are the target of Parental Alienation face a plethora of challenges. Overcoming those challenges can be overwhelming and leave fathers uncertain of their options for maintaining a relationship with their children.

Have a Plan

One of the best ways fathers can protect themselves is to hone in on creating a detailed and explicit parenting plan. Your parenting plan will outline what your rights are as a parent and will provide the framework for enforcing your rights. It is imperative that you ensure your parenting plan is specific and provides for significant visitation.  A vague parenting plan can invite opportunities for the manipulation of visitation, resulting in an undermining of your parental relationship with your child.

A Good Set of Rules Means Nothing if You Don’t Enforce Them.

A comprehensive parenting plan will only protect your rights if you enforce it. Many men make the mistake of letting small encroachments slide in an effort to be amicable and accommodating.  These small grants can quickly add up to big obstacles down the road. Complaining about violations or denial of parenting time isn’t enough. You have to enforce the parenting plan.  Failing to enforce the parenting plan through the court system can embolden the mother to continue treading on your rights and your relationship with your child.

Multiple Findings of Contempt can Lead to a Switch of Custody

Enforcing your parenting plan with the court will have several effects. First, it establishes your commitment to maintaining a consistent and involved parental relationship with your child. Second, it provides a record of parenting plan violations (contempt). Multiple violations of the parenting plan can lead to a switching of custody.

Family Counseling May Be Needed

Sometimes dad’s can do everything right and Mom is still able to alienate them from their child. If Parental Alienation has been effective, modifying the parenting plan to add a provision for family counseling, child counseling and/or a custody evaluation may help reverse the damage of the estrangement.

Parental Alienation can be devastating. If you are a father and are facing custody, divorce or other family law issues, educating yourself on your rights is the first step to protecting your relationship with your child. Our firm is a dedicated family law practice that is focused on husbands and fathers. If you have questions about your rights, please give us a call. Our managing attorney, Colin Amos, can provide you answers over the phone at no charge, and with no obligation. (503) 731-8888


Embed This Image On Your Site (copy code below):

Filed under: Child Custody No Comments

Divorce and Debt in Oregon


credit: Andres Rueda

Finances are often at the forefront when a couple has made the decision to divorce. Who will get what and how those decisions are made can create a lot of anxiety. Additionally, some couples are surprised to find out that debts are also divided in the divorce process.

Credit cards, home loans, auto financing and other debts will distributed between both parties. Because Oregon is an equitable distribution state there are some subtleties in how debts will be apportioned. Equitable distribution is “a legal principle under which assets and earnings acquired during marriage are divided equitably (fairly) at divorce.” It is important to note that equitable is not synonymous with equal. This means it is possible for assets and debts to be divided disproportionately.  Depending on the unique facts of your case, it is possible that the court might divide marital debts and assets in a 40/60 split, but it’s also possible that the court will determine a 50/50 division to be fair.

Dividing debt in a divorce also comes with the additional hazard of enforcing the divorce decree. Unfortunately when your ex fails to pay off the debt that was awarded to them in the divorce, it is possible that the debtor can seek payment from you. In this situation, men often have to pay off the debt and then sue their ex for restitution.


You are probably asking yourself, “how does this happen?” Much to the chagrin of divorcing couples, credit card companies and mortgage holders are not bound by your divorce decree. If the debt was incurred during the marriage, creditors can seek repayment from either spouse. Opening a line of credit requires the debtor (you) and the creditor (the company to whom the money is owed) enter into a contract.  The family courts do not have the jurisdiction to alter the creditor’s rights and therefore can’t modify the terms of your debt. The court is restricted to assigning the responsibility of repayment, but that doesn’t guarantee you won’t still be liable for repaying the debt.

Dividing debt in a divorce can be a tricky subject. Making sure you understand all your rights and your options is important. If you have questions about how your debts will be divided in divorce, please give us a call. Our managing attorney, Colin Amos, is happy to answer your family law questions over the phone at no charge.


Filed under: Divorce No Comments

Divorce and Twitter — Colin Amos On-Air

divorce and twitter


Colin stopped by Flight 750 to answer questions about divorce and custody, and weigh in on some family law issues that have been in the news.

The first question Colin tackled came from an involved dad whose children were requesting to live with him. The father has been divorced for more than 7 years, and his kids, 12 and 15, want to change their living arrangements so they can reside with their father.

In answering this question, Colin addresses a common misconception— once children reach a certain age they are allowed to choose where they live.  The parents (and potentially the court) have authority to decide where minors will reside. In custody cases, the courts will often consider the children’s preferences, but the final decision is at the discretion of the court.

To change the parenting plan the father will need to demonstrate to the court that there has been a significant change in circumstances. Once the change in circumstances has been articulated, the father can bring a modification to the court. At this point, a guardian ad litem can be hired to represent the kids and a private custody evaluator can assess the situation and make a recommendation.

After fielding the first question, Colin shifted gears to chat about a recent article posted on Time.com that discusses how the use of Twitter may increase the likelihood of infidelity. The article states “People who are active on Twitter are more likely to get involved in the types of confrontations that may eventually lead to infidelity and divorce, according to a study published online in the journal of Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.”

As the use of social media has become widespread, it is common for it to find its way into divorce and custody cases.  Texts, tweets, and status updates are frequently used as evidence and it isn’t uncommon for people to get themselves into hot water with their posts and pictures. All too often, people will incriminate themselves with their over-sharing. Colin cited the example of someone claiming to be in rehab, and then posting pictures of them out drinking.

You can hear all of Colin’s advice in the clip below, and if you have questions regarding family law, divorce, or custody, give us a call. Colin is always happy to answer your questions over the phone at no charge and with no obligation.

Filed under: Divorce No Comments

Enforcing a Parenting Plan

enforcing a parenting plan

credit: Kevin Dooley

What should I do if my parenting plan is violated?

The parenting plan is the cornerstone of your custody arrangement. If one party violates the agreement, knowing what to do will help you protect your relationship with your child.

What is a parenting plan?

A parenting plan is often part of a divorce agreement, but it is also necessary for parents that were never married.  A parenting plan is a formal document that is filed with the court that outlines the custody arrangements between parents. The plan will cover all aspects of raising the child and should explicitly cover the parameters of each parent’s responsibilities.

The parenting plan should also address how decisions are made, transportation and exchanges of the child, how disputes between parents are to be handled and a plethora of other important details.

What is the process for enforcement?

Once a parenting plan is in place both parties are legally obligated to honor it. Unfortunately there are times when the court has to be involved to enforce the agreement.

In Oregon the courts expect compliance with the parenting plan. When one parent violates the agreement the other parent will need to turn to the court to pursue a remedy. The first step in enforcing your parenting plan will be to file a motion seeking enforcement with the court.

Once the motion has been filed the court will conduct a hearing no more than 45 days after the filing (unless both parties agree otherwise). The court will review the motion and determine if a violation has occurred.

The three most common outcomes in this type of case are:

  • The judge finds that there was no violation and no further action is taken.
  • The parenting plan was violated, but with good reason and no remedy is required.
  • The parenting plan was violated and a remedy is ordered.

Depending on the severity of the violation, the remedy can range from minor —like allotting one parent more time (to make up the lost time) to more severe, like scheduling a hearing to change custody of the child. Other remedies that the court may order include adding additional terms to the current parenting plan, ordering counseling or parenting classes, suspending child support, or ordering the offending parent to pay restitution of court and attorney fees.

If you have questions about enforcing a parenting plan, speak to an experienced family law attorney.  Every situation is unique and getting specific answers that address your personal circumstances is imperative.

Filed under: Child Custody No Comments