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Spousal Support (Alimony)
Portland Spousal Support Attorney

Sometimes, one party to a divorce is or has been a stay-at-home parent and homemaker. If both parties work, there is often a significant difference between the incomes the parties earn. In some situations, one party may have contributed a great deal to the other party’s success, such as helping him or her obtain a medical or other professional degree.

In all of those examples, one spouse may have to pay the other spousal support. In Oregon, there are three kinds of spousal support: transitional spousal support, maintenance spousal support, and compensatory spousal support. The Oregon Legislature, and decisions from the Oregon Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, all provide guidance as to the type of support, and the amount and duration of support that is appropriate in different situations.

Transitional support is usually awarded when one spouse has not worked for some time and needs more education or training to get an appropriate job. Transitional support is usually awarded for a limited duration, and may be awarded in addition to a combination of spousal maintenance or compensatory support.

Whether a case is settled or goes to trial, spousal maintenance support is usually awarded if there is a significant difference between the parties’ incomes, or if other circumstances exist, such as health issues that make it difficult for a spouse to work. By law, spousal maintenance support is awarded in Oregon to help maintain the “out” party’s standard of living, so that it is not overly disproportionate to the standard of living the parties had during their marriage.

Compensatory support may be awarded under certain circumstances. This usually occurs when one party made significant contributions to the other party’s education or career, but the parties have not yet gained a substantial financial benefit from those contributions. For example, assume that a husband and wife married during undergraduate school, the wife worked full time to put the husband through the remainder of his undergraduate degree, and then supported him through a MBA program. Assume that, upon receiving his MBA, the husband received a lucrative job with an investment bank, and then filed for divorce. The wife could have a claim for compensatory support.

There are no hard and fast rules about the amount of support or the duration of support. Some courts and lawyers believe that an award spousal support should last for up to one half of the length of the marriage. That “general rule” may apply in some circumstances. However, in a long marriage, or when there are health issues or an older partner, the support may be awarded for an indefinite period of time. The amount of support can greatly vary, but can often in the range of 20-30 percent of the difference between the parties’ respective incomes.

The type of spousal support, its amount, and its duration all depend on the specific facts of your case. It is important for your lawyer to carefully assess the facts and provide a reasoned assessment of support issues. Peter will work with you to identify the types of support that may be at issue and a range of outcomes for the amount and duration of spousal support.

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