Many divorces end with an award of spousal support (aka “alimony”). But sometimes circumstances change, and the spousal support needs to end, be reduced, or even increase. Under what circumstances can that happen?
Can Spousal A Spousal Support Obligation Be Terminated?
Yes. In Oregon, spousal support can be terminated. The party seeking the termination must show a substantial, unanticipated change in economic circumstances. Parties can agree to make spousal support non-modifiable in their divorce judgment, but the divorce judgment must contain a specific waiver of the obligor’s/payor’s right to modify support. The basis upon which support was stipulated to or ordered may have implications for whether or not it can be terminated at a later date.
Can Spousal Support Payments Be Reduced?
Yes, a spousal support obligation can be reduced if the moving party can show a substantial, unanticipated change in their finances. The most common example is when the party ordered to pay support looses their job or has an unexpected reduction in income. In such a case, the Court may reduce support. Also, if the party receiving the support increases their income or remarries, the Court may also reduce support.
Can The Duration Of Spousal Support Be Extended Or Reduced?
Yes, if through a substantial, unanticipated change in circumstances a party still requires support, or if they no longer require support. For example, in some cases, a party receiving transitional spousal support may be delayed in returning to the work force or obtaining self-sufficient work. In other cases, that same party may actually obtain employment sooner than expected and no longer require support.
Can Spousal Support Be Reinstated After It Stops?
Yes, but only if one party was ordered to pay support in the first place, and only if the motion to extend is filed within the term that the obligor/payor was obligated to pay.
Can Spousal Support Be Increased?
Yes, and the standard would be the same for termination or a reduction in spousal support– a substantial, unanticipated change in economic circumstances. A situation in which support could be increased could include but not be limited to a situation in which a former spouse because ill or disabled, and thus required more support for living expenses.
The above discussion is only an overview, and specifics matter. If you have been awarded spousal support and you’d like to extend it or increase the award amount, contact us for a consultation well-before the support payments are to end. If you have been ordered to pay spousal support and you’d like it to terminate or decrease, contact us as soon as possible about your options because support payments will continue to accumulate and accrue interest unless and until you file a motion to modify.