In Oregon, the property division
(debts and assets) cannot be changed after the divorce without proof of one party’s failure to disclose a debt. However, the divorce statute refers to failure to disclose an asset. It does not speak to failure to disclose a debt. But, you may be able to infer that one's failure to disclose a debt is akin to failing to disclose an asset.
The Oregon divorce court will divide your marital debts in whatever way it finds “just and proper.” Division of marital debt is most often divided equally between you and your spouse in a divorce in Oregon. However, if there is CLEAR evidence that the debt was entirely incurred by just one spouse, then the Court can assign the entire debt to the party who solely incurred the debt.
If you have clear evidence that your ex intentionally failed to disclose in your divorce settlement that he had incurred a debt to the hospital, then you MAY be able to file a Petition/Motion to Modify Property Settlement for Defendant/Plaintiff's Failure to Disclose Debt.
If you do have to file a Motion/Petition, you must use the same Caption as in your Divorce Judgment (Court, Parties, Case No., Judge) and title
your pleading as Plaintiff/Defendant's (whoever you were in the divorce) Motion to Modify Property Settlement.
You must make your allegations in numbered paragraphs. Also, you may wish to use language similar to that provided below:
NOW COMES PLAINTIFF/DEFENDANT and for her Motion to Modify Property Settlement states as follows:
1. A divorce in this matter was entered by this court on xxxx date.
2. As part of the divorce judgment, Plaintiff/Defendant signed a property settlement that indicated that there was no marital debt over $15,000.00
3. Prior to the entry of the Judgment of Divorce, Plaintiff/Defendant went to xxxx Hospital on xxxx date.
4. Plaintiff/Defendant received services for (name services and diagnoses)
5. Plaintiff/Defendant signed HIS name to ALL documents indicating that he would be responsible for any debt incurred as a result of any services rendered. *****It would be very helpful if you can get a copy of the documents that HE signed before receiving the services and attach the documents as an exhibit*****
6. Plaintiff/Defendant received ALL correspondence from xxxx Hospital regarding any services rendered and any debt that was owed to the hospital.
7. Plaintiff/Defendant KNEW that he had accumulated (the amount of money) in debt to the hospital PRIOR to the signing the property settlement.
8. Plaintiff/Defendant knowingly and intentionally failed to disclose the debt to Plaintiff/Defendant (you) prior to the signing of the property settlement that was entered by this Court.
9. As a result of Plaintiff/Defendant's intentional failure to disclose the debt prior to the signing of the property settlement, Plaintiff/Defendant (you) are now being threatened with a lawsuit to collect the debt that was incurred SOLEY by Plaintiff/Defendant. You may attach any correspondence from the hospital, collection agency or attorney as an exhibit.
10. As a result of Plaintiff/Defendant's intentional failure to disclose the debt, Plaintiff/Defendant's (you) credit has been negatively affected.
11. If Plaintiff/Defendant would have disclosed the debt prior to the signing of the property settlement, Plaintiff/Defendant (you) would have insisted that Plaintiff/Defendant would have been TOTALLY responsible for the debt. If Plaintiff/Defendant would not agree to that provision, Plaintiff/Defendant (you) would not have agreed to the property settlement.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff/Defendant (you) requests this Honorable Court:
A. Set a hearing in this matter.
B. Modify the Divorce Judgment to include that Plaintiff/Defendant is 100% responsible for the debt to xxxx Hospital.
C. Award Plaintiff/Defendant (you) costs and fees for having to file this Motion.
D. Award Plaintiff/Defendant (you) any other relief that is just and equitable.
Sign and date.
Make sure that you properly serve your ex with the Motion and any exhibits. Then, file a Proof of Service (available at the court) indicating the date and how your ex was served with the paperwork and date of hearing.
It is within the Court's discretion as to whether or not to grant your motion. Moreover, even if your motion is granted, you must supply the hospital and attorney/collection agency with the Order granting your motion. But, you can still be sued for the debt. However, if you are sued, you can then take your ex back to court and file a Motion for Contempt for his failure to pay the debt that was assigned to him.
Moreover, you may wish to contact an attorney in your area who specializes in family law. Sometimes, an initial consultation is free or at a minimal cost. You can discuss the specific facts of your case, evaluate your options and decide how to proceed.
I hope you find this information useful.
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***Answers given are for informational purposes only and are not meant to replace the advice or assistance of an attorney licensed to practice law in your state. If you need any more information, please do not hesitate to ask. Thank you!