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Common questions about spousal support

Among the significant financial issues that can come up in Oregon divorces is spousal support, also called alimony. These are support payments one spouse gives to the other in the wake of a split. Today, we’ll discuss some of the basics of spousal support here in Oregon.

Is spousal support awarded in every divorce case?

Courts do not order spousal support in all divorces. Also, here in Oregon, there is no formula setting specific criteria that automatically trigger alimony awards.

Rather, courts in the state have a lot of discretion in deciding whether to grant spousal support and how much to award. Courts are to make decisions that are “just and equitable under the circumstances.” In deciding what would be equitable and just, courts look at range of factors touching on the marriage, each party’s circumstances and financial matters.

What types of spousal support are awarded?

Spousal support comes in three types in Oregon. There is transitional support, which is aimed at helping a spouse get the education and training needed for career reentry or advancement. Then there is maintenance support, which are support payments for a set or indefinite period time that are usually more common in divorces involving longer-term marriages. Finally, there is compensatory support, which is generally aimed at compensating a spouse for contributions made to the other spouse’s career or education during the marriage.

A court could award one of these types of support, or some combination of multiple types.

Can parties reach agreements on the issue of spousal support?

Yes, divorcing spouses do not have to leave spousal support matters up to a court decision. They could opt to do out-of-court negotiation to reach a spousal support agreement.

Can a spousal support order be changed later down the line?

Yes, modification of a child support order can be a possibility if unexpected changes in circumstances occur after the order was made.

These are just some general points on spousal support in the state. The spousal support issues that can come up in Oregon divorces are varied and complex. It is a legal matter that is deeply impacted by the specifics of a divorce and the splitting parties. It is also a legal matter that can have major financial implications for divorcing spouses. So, coming up with a well-tailored approach to addressing the spousal support issues in their case is important for divorcing individuals in Oregon.