Family Support: Spousal Support and Child Support

Spousal Support

A prime concern for divorcing spouses is how they will manage after divorce.  Specifically, many couples dispute whether one spouse will pay the other spousal support — formerly known as alimony or maintenance — and, if so, how much and for how long. Whether you believe you should receive spousal support or foresee the need to protect against an unreasonable demand you cannot afford, please contact me for experienced legal counsel on this matter. I have the knowledge, understanding and resources necessary to protect your financial interests.

Whether yours is a  high net worth case or a more straightforward case, you need efficient, attentive legal representation that doesn’t unnecessarily waste money on court battles.  It is my first approach to seek an amicable resolution through negotiation or mediation whenever possible. This will save attorneys’ fees and litigation costs to preserve more assets for your family. Settlements that address the needs of all parties also avoid the bitterness that can affect your family for years to come. However, when your spouse is uncooperative and refuses to listen to reason, I have the experience necessary to and am willing to try your case in court.

Types of Spousal Support Available Under Oregon Law

There are essentially four types of spousal support: (1) transitional support which is ordered to assist the recipient spouse gain employment and attain self sufficiency (2) compensatory support which is awarded in recognition of the contributions the recipient spouse made to the higher education and arguable enhanced earning capacity of the payor spouse, and (3) spousal maintenance support which addresses disparities in earning capacity where there is a need for supplementation of the recipeient spouses’s income for a fixed or unspecified period of time (4) spousal support in lieu of property – although rarely awarded, the court can award spousal support instead of a share in property. The court has discretion over which type — if any – or combinations of support to award. Traditionally the courts have weighed heavily the ability of the recipient spouse to earn sufficient amounts to provide a standard of living proportionate to that enjoyed during marriage.

Helping You Maintain Your Lifestyle So You Can Move Forward

Unlike child support, there is no formula or fixed guidelines for setting the amount of spousal support under Oregon law.   The court is guided in awarding spousal support but what “may be just and equitable for one party to contribute to the other.” Positioning for a favorable outcome may require thorough examination of many factors subject to court consideration, including:

  • Each spouse’s potential earning capacity, qualifications and work history

  • The length of the marriage

  • The standard of living established during the marriage

  • The financial needs, obligations (custodial and child support)  and resources of each party

  • The age and health of the parties

From dealing with temporary spousal support to permanent solutions of spousal support issues, I am equipped to advocate assertively in your interests. If you anticipate that spousal support could be an issue in your divorce, please contact me to arrange an informative consultation focused on your needs.

Child Support

Child support in Oregon is determined by a formula. The formula is based on the assumption that a child should benefit from both parents’ incomes as if they had not divorced. Using a formula, the court calculates each parent’s share of the costs to support the child in proportion to each parent’s contribution of income to the combined income of both parents. There are a number of factors that the court can consider in deviating from the guidelines, including:

  • Net income of the parents
  • Special hardships
  • Needs of the child
  • Considerations of the spouse or domestic partner of the ex spouse
  • Tax considerations

Additional factors will be considered by the court in setting or modifying child support, including:

  • The amount of time that a child spends with each parent
  • Extraordinary medical costs
  • Loss of income, i.e. an employment layoff or a new medical disability
  • Special needs, education of a challenged or disabled child
  • Insurance premium costs or expiration of COBRA benefits
  • A change in custody arrangement or support obligations

Child support affects not only your legal rights and protections, but those of your child.  These needs must be addressed in determining the appropriate level of child support so that your child can maintain his/her lifestyle and recover from the impact of the divorce.  The decisions you make now will affect the quality of your child’s life for years to come. To ensure that there are sufficient funds for payment of health insurance premiums, education, needed counseling and appropriate care, you must prepare for any child support disputes carefully. Finally, you should ensure that you consider the tax implications of the calculation and payment of family support when addressing child support options.

Child Support Enforcement or Violations

Failure to pay child support is a serious issue that the courts will address. If the failure is willful, it will be deemed contempt of court. Contempt action for failure to comply with a divorce judgment may be punished by one or more of the following remedial sanctions:

  • Payment of money
  • Confinement for as long as the contempt continues up to six months
  • a daily fine of $500 or 1% of the payor’s annual gross income, whichever is greater
  • attorney fees

In addition, failure to pay court ordered child support could result in wages being garnished, levies on bank accounts or retirement accounts, and/or property being attached. If you are facing contempt or your child is not getting the support to which he is entitled due to nonpayment of child support, seek legal counsel and representation. I have represented numerous clients involving child support enforcement or violations and can provide you with the support necessary to ensure that your child support issues and/or violations will be taken seriously. Talk to me about the most constructive way to move forward based on the circumstances that are present in your case



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