Spouses rarely make identical salaries or contribute the same monetary amount to their marriage. When divorce is on the horizon, both likely wonder about the rules surrounding spousal support.
Spousal maintenance can be one of the more contentious aspects of a split, so couples should understand what resolutions are possible and what outcomes are probable.
The purpose of spousal support
Divorce can substantially alter the financial situation of one or both spouses. If one partner handled more of the homemaking, that individual might have a difficult road reentering the job market and finding stable employment.
If the nonworking spouse acclimated to a particular lifestyle, the hardship of losing those circumstances might be excessive. The court may order the payment of spousal support to ease the transition, but spousal support is not automatic in Oregon.
The types of spousal support
Oregon distinguishes three types of alimony that serve distinct purposes:
- Compensatory: This support compensates a spouse for making a significant contribution, financial or otherwise, to the other’s career, education or earning capacity. These payments are often for a spouse who cared for a home while the other advanced professionally.
- Transitional: Transitional support aims to help lower-earning spouses have the resources to pursue training or education to increase their earning power. This support usually decreases gradually.
- Maintenance: Maintenance is most common in long-term marriages to minimize a significant difference in income and lifestyle between spouses. This support may be indefinite, particularly when a lower-earning spouse is near retirement and is unlikely to find suitable work to meet a lifestyle.
While spousal support is not mandatory, it is common after marital dissolution and depends on the circumstances. When spouses attempt to collaborate on an agreement, the arrangement can be workable for both parties.