When a couple in Oregon divorces or legally separates, the judgment may require one spouse to pay spousal support to the other. There are several factors the court must consider in determining spousal support, and the factors differ between the types of support awarded. Perhaps the most essential component of the analysis is need and ability to pay. In other words, if one spouse can establish the need for financial assistance to maintain their standard of living and/or transition back into the workforce, and if they can also establish that their soon-to-be ex-spouse can afford to pay the support they need, support will often be awarded.
Types of Spousal Support Available in Oregon
- Transitional support is designed to help a spouse who has been unemployed or underemployed during the marriage transition back into the workforce and become self-supporting. These payments are typically paid for a short period of time, often in conjunction with the receiving spouse attending recertification classes or obtaining a degree that will help them land a job or increase their earning capabilities.
- Maintenance support is money paid to adjust for disparities in the parties’ standard of living during and after the marriage. This is the most common type of spousal support awarded in Oregon.
- Compensatory support is meant to compensate a spouse who has made significant contributions toward the education, training, or career of their partner, resulting in the partner having a significantly higher earning potential.
Calculation of Spousal Support.
In Oregon, there is no discreet formula used to determine whether or how much spousal support will be ordered. Rather, the court will look at each spouse’s income and expenses to determine an appropriate award. Other factors considered include the age and health of the parties, the length of the marriage, the standard of living established during the marriage, the income and earning capacity of the parties, and other equitable considerations. Depending on the facts of the case and the needs of the parties, the court may order one, two, or all three types of spousal support.
How long Does Spousal Support Last?
There are no set guidelines or formulas for determining the length of a spousal support order in Oregon, and the duration of spousal support awards can vary greatly from case to case. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement on spousal support, the court will typically consider the length of the marriage and the age and health of the parties in determining how long spousal support should last. Spousal support does not automatically terminate upon the remarriage or retirement of a party. However, these events could constitute grounds for a party to ask the court to modify or terminate the award.
Spousal Support is Modifiable.
Either party can ask the court to modify a spousal support order at any time in the future, however the court will only do so if there has been a substantial change in the economic circumstances of a party, such as a significant change in income or expenses. Compensatory spousal support orders can only be modified if there has been an involuntary, extraordinary, and unanticipated change in circumstances that reduces the earning capacity of the paying spouse.
Spousal support may also be paid all at once in a lump sum, rather than over a period of years. Generally speaking, lump sum spousal support is not modifiable in the future.
Contact us at Posey Legal, P.C., for assistance on your spousal support issues.