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Wolfe v. Wolfe
Oregon Court of Appeals
273 P.3d 915 (2012)
Douglas Wolfe (plaintiff) and Gillian Wolfe (defendant) married in 1975. After having children, Gillian stopped working as a nurse practitioner and ran the family farm. When Douglas opened an ophthalmology practice, Gillian managed it but did not draw a salary so the couple could claim tax benefits. The couple made financial decisions jointly based on what was best for the family. Douglas had what he called “separate money” in a trust from his grandfather and two accounts that investment advisors managed. Douglas withdrew money to buy the farm and maximize the couple’s retirement contributions but never deposited salary into the investment accounts. Douglas canceled his life insurance because he knew his wife and children would get the trust assets if he died. When the couple separated in 2006, their joint assets totaled $5 million, and the trust totaled $10.3 million. The court split the joint assets equally but awarded all the trust assets to Douglas. Gillian appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Haselton, J.)
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