Spousal Maintenance, otherwise known as alimony or spousal support, can be one of the most contested issues between parties involved in a dissolution of marriage. Some parties may see their earnings and assets as belonging only to them, while others may feel obligated to support their spouse after a long term marriage ends. Regardless of how you feel about it, maintenance may be court ordered when it is just and equitable.
In Oregon, there are three types of spousal maintenance a judge can consider as a result of a dissolution of marriage. In awarding each type of maintenance, a judge will consider various factors for each. A judge can order one type of maintenance or all three at the same time.
Transitional spousal support may be appropriate when one party does not have the education, training or skills needed to earn a reasonable living after the dissolution of the marriage. Transitional maintenance is for the purpose of allowing the party to obtain the education and training they need to increase their earning capacity. The court will consider the duration of the marriage, a party’s training and employment skills, work experience, the financial needs and resources of each party, the tax consequences to each party, a party’s custodial and child support responsibilities, and any other factors the court deems just and equitable.
Compensatory spousal support may be appropriate when there has been a significant financial or other contribution by one party to the education, training, vocational skills, career or earning capacity of the other party, or when just and equitable under all of the circumstances. The court will consider the amount and nature of the contribution, the duration of the marriage, the relative earning capacity of the parties, the extent to which the marital estate has already benefited from the contribution, the tax consequences to each party, and any other factors the court deems just and equitable.
Spousal maintenance is a contribution by one spouse to the support of the other for either a set or indefinite period of time. For this type of maintenance, the court will consider the duration of the marriage, the age and mental and physical health of the parties, the standard of living established during the marriage, relative income and earning capacities, training and employment skills, work experience, financial needs of each party, tax consequences to each party, a party’s custodial and support responsibilities and any other factors the court deems just and equitable.
Sometimes the parties can reach their own agreement as to spousal maintenance, which a court can approve if a court believes it is just and proper. Being able to reach your own agreement as to maintenance, if maintenance is appropriate, can provide the parties a way to avoid contentious and costly litigation.
When spousal maintenance is an issue, it is best to consult with a competent attorney familiar with family law to understand the amount of maintenance that may be appropriate in your case. Not only are laws always changing, but an attorney with family law experience will understand how to best represent your interests for an appropriate resolution in your dissolution of marriage case.