Alimony in Oregon: How to Get It and How To Avoid It

As if marriage and divorce weren’t already complex enough, alimony adds a whole new element to the latter. In the event of divorce, alimony may be brought up. Alimony may be a foreign concept to some, and a topic not yet completely understood to others. Whether your wish is to obtain it or avoid it, here are some common queries about alimony explained.

Oregon Alimony
Alimony in Oregon is called “Spousal Support.”

Alimony Defined

During marriage, the two partners either work together equally as a team or one partner relies on the other for financial support. Divorce could mean a potential loss of financial security for one of the partners. Alimony is an agreement created or decided upon either by the two formerly married parties or the court. It serves to ensure that the person who earned less money in the relationship will still be taken care of. Different factors come into play. Perhaps the person receiving alimony has a low or nonexistent income, aims to obtain a degree or further means to enter a career, or is unable to support themselves due to physical, emotional, or mental limitations. There are three different types of spousal support. Compensatory support is awarded when the recipient had been financially supporting the other party throughout their vocational and educational endeavors. Transitional support is given in order to support the recipient while they change from married to single life. This is typically for short term periods. Maintenance support is usually financial support given in long term situations and may not have a specified date of completion.

History of Alimony

Originally, the idea of divorce was similar to what separation is today. Hundreds of years ago, the husband was still responsible for the well-being of the wife because the couple was not considered entirely separated. According to Babylonian code created ca. 1780 B.C.E., the husband was expected to return the wife’s dowry in the event of separation. Once divorce became a modern possibility, alimony became easier to acquire as husbands’ incomes increased and wives uncovered husbands’ misconduct within their marriage. Thus, alimony became more widely accepted as a suitable offering for the wronged spouse during separation.

Alimony Calculator

Taking steps towards successfully sorting out alimony requires specific calculation. You can complete an example calculation online, but you’ll need the assistance of an Oregon divorce attorney to properly calculate spousal support. Various items needed to be taken into consideration. Such things as the capability of the supporting partner to retain their lifestyle as well as continuing to help the supported partner, the amount of time the supported partner has spent away from the job market, and the total salary they earn without aide of the supporting partner. Many other items are factored in which are specific to the length of marriage, number of non-adult children, and emotional health of the dependent partner. The amount of spousal support possible varies greatly and is specific to each marriage.

How to Get Alimony

Whether someone is entitled to alimony depends on many factors. It also depends on the state the couple inhabits. While maintenance support is fairly rare nowadays, the court may award temporary spousal support to allow the recipient to get back on their feet. If you want to receive alimony, the cases which would rule in your favor would include (but are not limited to) you still having young children at home, you not having a lot of recent experience working a job, or you struggling with other issues that prevent you from adequately supporting yourself. Seek legal advice to help find other reasons you ought to be awarded alimony.

How to Avoid Paying Alimony

In order to avoid paying alimony, you must be knowledgeable about the laws you’re going to be going up against. Seek an attorney who will be able to explain heavier content to you. You will want to specifically study your state’s laws in regards to alimony. In Oregon, alimony is referred to as spousal support. You need to explain to the court why your spouse does not need the support. If your partner had not left the workforce during the entirety of the marriage, had not been married to you long, or has no children at home, these are some excellent points to bring up to the court. Each of these show that either your spouse has nothing preventing them from acquiring a career or they haven’t been married long enough to warrant continual support. The longer the marriage, the more likely it could be that the court sees fit to award a certain amount of alimony. For instance, if you were married for twelve years, the court could award six years of temporary transitional spousal support. Additionally, you could locate similar cases to yours in which spousal support was not granted or consider a settlement in lieu of spousal support.

Is Alimony Tax Deductible?

Most couples would seek to make spousal support tax deductible. You do have a choice. While you should ask a tax expert about this, it’s easy to break it down. Spousal support means that the spouse who earns a higher amount of money is transferring a certain amount to the spouse who earns the lower amount of money. While the higher-earning spouse originally might make $300,000 a year, if they give $120,000 in spousal support then they would only have to file taxes on their annual income of $180,000. At the end of the day, the paying spouse spends less in taxes to the IRS due to the fact that they are not keeping a portion of their earnings. Generally, there will be a tax imposed on alimony that the recipient should pay. However, the spousal support must not be the same as child support. Child support is not tax deductible. The person receiving spousal support must be prepared to possibly pay an amount in taxes even if they do not hold a job or have any other income.

Can Alimony be Modified or Terminated?

Normally, once a court hears an spousal support case the ruling remains unchanged. However, certain changes in circumstances have been known to alter spousal support. In terms of modification, if the spouse receiving support becomes physically unable to work, spousal support payments could be subject to increase. If the paying spouse changes jobs and has a substantially lower income, the court may see fit to lower the spousal support payments. However, not all changes in employment and status modify the spousal support. In some cases, even retirement did not warrant a good enough excuse to alter the spousal support payments. In regards to alimony termination, it depends on the agreements made during the creation of the spousal support. For instance, a couple decides that the recipient will get five years of spousal support unless the recipient remarries. But before the five years are up, the recipient indeed remarries. In this case, the spousal support would cease even though the length of time was not yet exhausted. In another example, if the spouse awarded alimony has a sudden change in financial circumstances— such as inheriting money or winning the lottery— then their alimony could be subject to termination. Spousal support is meant to take care of the lower-earning spouse. But if they become able to support themselves independently, alimony becomes an unnecessary crutch.

Spousal support awards are still very common in Oregon divorce cases. However, now more than ever, women as well as men are perfectly capable of holding their own in the workplace. They are without need of extra support. Independence is readily acquired. But marriage encourages loving and cherishing each other until death would part them. Spousal support is a way to continue taking care of someone even when being married to them didn’t work. The most important thing to remember is that alimony is not automatic. Always seek legal advice before assuming anything about a court.

For a more detailed discussion, see our page on modifying spousal support in Oregon.

Oregon Alimony Attorney

If you need help calculating and receiving alimony, we can help. If you need help minimizing your exposure to paying a high amount of alimony, we can also help. Finally, if you need a modification, extension, or termination of alimony, we may be able to help as well. Contact our office.

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