Portland Spousal Support Lawyers
Spousal support or alimony is money paid by the supporting spouse to the supported spouse for their future benefit. Oregon laws control the requirements of spousal support in the state as well as the consequences for disobeying such orders. Although spousal support is not awarded in every case, it will be granted if one spouse demonstrates financial need and the other spouse can pay for this support.
Types of Spousal Support
There are three types of spousal support available in Oregon: maintenance spousal support, compensatory spousal support, and transitional spousal support.
Maintenance Spousal Support
This type of spousal support is the most common and consists of continuing monthly payments intended to help support the lifestyle and living costs of the supported spouse. It is based on equitable principles.
Compensatory Spousal Support
The court may order compensatory support to even out expenses that were paid for collectively during the marriage that contributed to one spouse’s earning potential. An example of this might include when one spouse obtained a law or medical degree paid for by both spouses.
Transitional Spousal Support
These are temporary payments given to the supported spouse to cover short-term disparity in earning potential between the spouses. This type of support allows the receiving spouse to return to school to continue their education to increase his/her earning capacity.
Factors the Court Considers When Determining a Spousal Support Order
In Oregon, a judge will consider a variety of factors when making a spousal support determination. These factors may include but are not limited to the following:
- Duration of the marriage
- Each spouse’s age
- Each spouse’s physical and mental health
- Income and earning capacities
- Retirement benefits
- Accustomed standard of living during the marriage
- Each spouse’s education, work history, and job skills
- Tax consequences
The court will also consider any other factors it deems relevant. In Oregon, the courts may also consider marital fault, such as infidelity or abuse, when awarding spousal support.
Spousal Support Duration
To determine the duration of spousal support you must look at each couple’s unique set of circumstances and the facts of their case. Spousal support in Oregon is based on equitable principles, meaning the court will decide an appropriate amount and duration based on what is equitable and fair. Sometimes, these payments will last for half the duration of the marriage, however; this is not true for every case.
Spousal Support Modification
Due to unexpected changes, such as losing a job or an increase or decrease in income, spousal support can be modified. As the supporting spouse may not be able to afford the original spousal support payments, it would be appropriate to change the spousal award amount.
Spousal support orders can be modified by showing the court that a substantial change in economic circumstances occurred. If either party’s earning capacity has changed since the divorce finalized, this factor could warrant a change in the amount or duration of spousal support payments.
Spousal Support Termination
Unlike other states in the U.S., spousal support does not automatically terminate in Oregon when the other spouse gets remarried. Instead, the courts will consider whether the supported spouse’s new marriage has improved their financial situation and if a modification is appropriate. Oregon courts will consider terminating spousal support when either party has experienced a substantial change in financial circumstances. If a supported spouse has not made reasonable efforts to become self-sufficient, the supporting spouse could ask the judge to terminate the spousal support order.