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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