OregonAlimony Guide - Spousal Support Laws
Oregon Alimony Guide :: Table of Contents
What is Alimony?
Alimony, also known as spousal support, is a court-ordered provision of financial support a spouse for after a divorce. Alimony laws vary considerably from state to state, and courts often have significant flexibility on a case-by-case basis in determing whether to award alimony, how much alimony to award, and how long alimony payments will continue.
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How Does the Process of Calculating Spousal Support Work?
Spousal support is awarded in Oregon when, following a dissolution or marriage or legal separation, the court declares one spouse incapable of maintaining the standard of living established during marriage independently of the other. Spousal support, also known as alimony, is awarded dependent on many factors related to the marital and economic lives of both parties involved in the case.
There are three types of spousal support: transitional, compensatory, and maintenance. Transitional support is to help a party obtain education or training needed to reenter or advance in the job market; this type of support is often awarded in shorter marriages when a party may need additional recourses to transition back into independent living. Compensatory support is for cases where there has been a significant contribution by one party to the education, training, vocational skills, career, or earning capacity of the other party, or when one party is giving substantially more property in the divorce; this type of support is somewhat rare. Maintenance support is a contribution by one spouse to the other, either for a specified or indefinite amount of time; this type of support is usually awarded after long term marriage where there is a significant gap between the earning capacities of both parties, or where one party lacks the ability to gain meaningful employment.
Considerations for alimony include things such as earning capacity, skills, education, the physical and mental health, and current estates of both parties. Other considerations include contributions by both parties to the wellbeing of the marriage and any children of the marriage, any time spent as a homemaker during the marriage, which spouse now has custody of any children, and more. Child support ruled to be paid between the parties may more may not be taken into consideration by the court.
Any other factor the court deems relevant to the individual case will also be taken into consideration for the judgment. The final decision of spousal support is dependent on the court and judge ruling the case.
In the state of Oregon, a number of factors are taken into account when calculating the amount and duration of alimony or spousal support payments.
Is there a set list of statutory factors for calculating alimony?
Oregon has a defined list of factors, described in statutory law, that are legally required to be considered by a judge when determining alimony payments. These factors may be directly connected to the alimony calculation formula.
Is marital fault considered in Oregon alimony?
Oregon considers marital fault when determining alimony payments. This means that "at-fault" divorces, which may be caused by infidelity / adultery, abuse, etc, can result in the at-fault party paying more "punitive" alimony.
Is standard of living considered in Oregon alimony?
Standard of living is considered when calculating alimony payments in the state of Oregon. This means that a judge will consider the lifestyle enjoyed by the alimony-receiving spouse during the duration of the marriage when determining an appropriate alimony payment amount.
Is custodial status considered when determining alimony in the state of Oregon?
The judge in the state of Oregon considers custodial status when determining alimony payments. This means that alimony calculations are affected by whether or not the receiving spouse has custody of the children, and custodial spouses may receive higher alimony payments.
How exactly is alimony calculated in the state of Oregon?
Calculation of alimony is generally done on a case-by-case basis by the Oregon family court judge who is responsible for the case. While some states have a fixed alimony calculation formula, in most cases the final amount and duration of alimony awarded (if alimony is awarded) is at the discretion of the judge.
- How long must alimony be paid?
- The duration of payments is determined by a judge in Oregon family court. Alimony length is usually based on length of marriage - one commonly used standard for alimony duration is that 1 year of alimony is paid every three years of marriage (however, this is not always the case in every state or with every judge). Alimony may also be discontinued upon the remarriage or cohabitation of the receiving spouse. In some cases, judges may even award permanent alimony.
- What happens if alimony isn't paid?
- If alimony is unpaid, the owed debt is known as alimony arrears. Arrears can be collected via mediation, small claims court, or wage garnishment. Failure to comply with a court-issued spousal support order may also result in a contempt of court charge against the spouse who failed to pay owed alimony.
- Can alimony be waived by a prenuptual agreement?
- A prenup agreement is a contract between spouses regarding marriage-related financial matters signed prior to marriage. Limitation or waiving rights to alimony is a frequent clause in modern prenuptual agreements, but some states or localities prohibit such alimony waivers.
- Can alimony be collected if you're not married?
- The legal concept of alimony, otherwise known as spousal support, is dependant upon a legal marriage. However, in some areas - especially those with a concept of common-law marriage - "palimony", or support payments between non-married individuals, has been awarded by courts. However, this generally requires extenuating circumstances.
- What is alimony mediation?
When a marriage ends through divorce and alimony is expected to be paid, spouses have the choice to determine an alimony agreement either through litigation (in Oregon family court) or through mutual agreement. Often, a Oregon alimony mediator can be brought in to help the ex-spouses come to a mutual agreement regarding alimony and other contested issues such as property division, and thus avoid having to go to court.
- How are alimony payments taxed?
On a federal level, all qualifying Oregon alimony payments are deductible by the payor, and counted as taxable income by the recipient. To qualify as alimony under IRS guidelines, the following must be true:
- The payments are in cash
- The parties live in seperate households
- The payments are strictly for alimony (as opposed to for child support, etc)
Taxation of alimony varies on a state and local level. You can learn more about Oregon income taxes here .