Maybe you’re just trying to be nice and understanding, doing divorce the modern way in Oregon. Your ex-spouse asks you something like, “Is it OK if I miss paying alimony this month?” They may say they’re having some money problems, that the benefits from their new job haven’t kicked in yet or they recently moved apartments. Whatever excuse they might give you, the point is the same. They’re looking for leniency — a little break.

Don’t.

No matter how badly you might feel about it, it’s important to your own well-being and that of your dependents that you don’t agree to any modifications of spousal or child support or other divorce settlement matters outside of the official legal process. Settle these issues in court, where the legal experts can help you get the fairest treatment possible.

In Oregon, after the court judgment finalizes the spousal support arrangement, one party — you or your ex — can’t change the plan on their own. Your ex can’t just decide one day that now they’re going to only pay spousal support every other month or skip a few months and then pay catch-up. Those kinds of changes can only be made by the court.

When divorced couples make handshake agreements outside of court about matters like spousal support, it can quickly become a slippery slope. If you say it’s fine if they occasionally miss an alimony payment, maybe your ex will find excuses to miss more and more payments. Once you allow them to do whatever they want, your spousal support arrangement can become a lot harder to enforce again.

Your heart may be in the right place by trying to make it easier on your ex through their difficult financial time, but that could open the door for them to take advantage of you. With complex situations like this, it’s vital that you understand your legal rights and consult an experienced Oregon attorney who can help you with all matters related to spousal support so that you can get the treatment you deserve and find collaborative solutions to problems.