Recent spousal support caselaw

A common question in spousal support cases is: “Should I move into an apartment at a low rent while I am waiting for the court to hear my case? In one court case, this frugality worked against the party seeking support. The trial court saw that Wife was living a spartan lifestyle at the time of the divorce, and only gave her a nominal spousal support award, under the premise that the support awarded was enough to meet her expenses. The trial court was revered in part on appeal, for not making an greater award, which would place the parties in more of a position of parity in their lifestyle. In Abrams and Abrams, 243 Or App 203, 259 P3d 92 (2011) the facts in the case were that the parties had been married 28 years, Husband had a long standing career and was making $7739 a month, and Wife’s income was set at minimum wage. Initially the trial court only awarded Wife $750 a month for two years, in the form of transitional support. The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court and required Husband to pay the $750 a month in transitional support plus and additional $2000 a month in indefinite maintenance support based on the disparity of the parties earning capacities that was likely to be permanent and the long term nature of the marriage. The Court of Appeals noted that one factor that supported the greater award was that the longevity of the marriage weighs in favor of a support award that places the parties in relative parity regarding their standards of living.

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Liza Langford, Attorney at Law

715 SW Morrison, Suite 905
Portland, Oregon 97205
Office Phone: 503-274-9070

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Restraining orders and custody

In accordance with  ORS 107.137 there is a rebuttable presumption that if one parent committed abuse against the other, then it is not in the child’s best interests to award that parent custody. However in Weismandel-Sullivan and Sullivan, 228 Or App 41 (2009) the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court for entering such a finding when Father who had been accused by Mother of having abused her in her petition seeking a restraining order (FAPA),  requested a hearing and Mother vacated the order before he had a chance for a contested hearing on the matter.

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Prenuptual and postnuptual agreements

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements:  It is possible to enter into a contract with your future spouse designating which assets remain yours in the event of divorce and in the event of death how this asset shall be distributed.  These agreements can also be entered into postnuptially, after marriage; however they are still subject to the court’s scrutiny at the time of death or divorce for equity.

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Emergency custody order

An emergency custody order may be obtained if your child is in immediate danger and you need to suspend the other parent’s contact with the child in order to protect the child. See ORS 107.097 if you are seeking an emergency custody order, and there is no custody order in place (prejudgment) or ORS 107.139 if you are seeking an order after a custody order has been entered.

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Custody is normally awarded to the primary caregiver. This is defined as the person who spends the most time meeting the child’s needs.

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Premarital property

At the time of divorce, the asset and debts shall be divided equitable by the court. Any asset acquired during the marriage is deemed marital property. If you came into the marriage with property, it may also no subject to division, unless you can show you never had any intent to share this assert with your spouse.

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In Oregon if a parent wants to move to a new state, then they may need to have the permission of the other parent or an order from the court to permit relocation.

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Did you know you can modify a custody agreement?

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General Information

Liza Langford, Oregon Family Law Attorney will fight for your rights.  Her practice is located in the heart of downtown Portland.

Please contact Liza Langford when you need an attorney to defend your rights.

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