Alimony in Oregon: Determination and Calculation of Spousal Support

Photo of author

By Divorce & Finance

Alimony in oregon tipsAlimony in Oregon, also referred to as spousal support, is the amount of money ordered by the court for a specific period as may be equitable and just for one spouse to contribute to the other.

Spousal support is meant to help a dependent spouse meet their financial needs, maintain a standard of living they’ve become accustomed to during the marriage, or enable them to become self-sufficient.

This article highlights the factors for determining the award of spousal, the available support types, and how alimony might be changed in the future.

How To Calculate Spousal Support in Oregon

A spousal support award is not based on a formula. Courts consider what is “equitable and just under the circumstances.” The factors considered in support calculation are specific to the type of support ordered. In the case of transitional support, the court will consider the following factors:

  • The length of the marriage.
  • The earning capacity and work experience of both spouses.
  • The financial resources and needs of each spouse.
  • Child custody and support responsibilities.
  • Any other factors deemed just and equitable by the court.

Where the court decides to award compensatory support, it will consider the following factors in calculating the support amount and duration:

  • The nature, amount, and duration of a spouse’s contribution to the other.
  • Each spouse’s relative earning capacities.
  • The duration of the marriage.
  • How much the marital estate has already benefited from a spouse’s contribution.
  • Other factors that may be considered just and equitable.

If the court orders spousal maintenance, the following factors will be considered for the calculation of support:

  • Each spouse’s age.
  • The length of the marriage.
  • Each spouse’s physical, emotional, and mental health.
  • The couple’s standard of living during the marriage.
  • The relative earning capacity and income of each spouse.
  • A spouse’s employment skills, training, and work experience.
  • The financial resources and needs of each spouse.
  • Child support and custody responsibilities.
  • Any other factor the court may deem equitable and just.

– Amount of Alimony

Since no specific formula is used in Oregon to calculate the amount of support, courts use any of the factors outlined above depending on the type of support awarded. It is difficult to tell the average spousal support in Oregon as judges have all the say over the amount of the final support award.

– Duration of Alimony

Similar to determining the amount of alimony, courts will consider various factors to determine how long support will last. However, the duration of maintenance will mainly depend on the type of support awarded.

Transitional support is likely to continue for a duration the court deems sufficient for the supported spouse to acquire the necessary education or training to allow them to reenter the job market. This alimony type is available for a limited duration and ends when the supported spouse gets gainful employment and transitions into a single-income household.

Compensatory support is a rare award reserved for cases where one spouse made a significant financial or other contribution to the other spouse’s education, vocational skills, training, earning capacity, or career.

This type of support may also be awarded when one spouse receives more value in the marital property during marriage dissolution and there are no assets to balance the property award. Compensatory support is usually short-term when used for this reason.

Courts may also award support referred to as spousal maintenance, which is meant to help a spouse maintain the standard of living they’ve become accustomed to during the marriage. Oregon courts may order spousal maintenance for a specified or indefinite duration.

The court can order indefinite spousal maintenance or lifetime alimony Oregon if it establishes that the gap in spouses’ income may never be closed due to disability or advanced age.

How To Pay Alimony in Oregon

The presiding judge is responsible for ordering the support payment method. However, they will likely order the most applicable payment method for the paying spouse.

The judge can order periodic payments, a lump-sum support payment, or a property ownership transfer. Lump-sum support payments are applicable when the payor spouse lacks a steady income or is otherwise self-employed. For this payment method, there is no need for court oversight once the payor spouse satisfies the support order.

In most cases, courts will order periodic payments. A judge may order payments to be made monthly or quarterly. Spouses can choose their preferred payment method, including writing a personal check, direct deposit, or using a mobile payment method.

For periodic payments, a judge may include an income withholding order that directs the payor spouse’s employer to withhold a part of their paycheck and forward the funds to the supported spouse.

According to alimony laws in Oregon (Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 107.105 (1)(d)), payor spouses who lack a steady income but have a significant amount of property may be ordered to transfer ownership of their real or personal property to the supported spouse.

If the supporting spouse isn’t paying support as ordered, you can request the court to enforce the order by filing a formal motion with the court that awarded support. The court has various ways of enforcing support awards, including placing liens on their property. Payor spouses can face penalties such as fines, attorney fees, and even jail time if they continue to disobey the support order.

How To Avoid Paying Alimony in Oregon

A spouse looking to avoid paying spousal support has to bring up valid reasons to show the court that their soon-to-be ex-spouse doesn’t need support. If your spouse has been in the workforce for the entirety of your marriage, has not been married for long, or has no children at home, you could argue that nothing stops your spouse from being financially independent.

If you haven’t been married for long, the court may find that there is no reason to award continued support. However, you can stop paying support in the future by petitioning the court to modify or terminate the support order.

– Modification of Alimony

The court can only modify support if the requesting spouse demonstrates a substantial and unanticipated change in circumstances for either spouse since the entry of the last judgment. This could be a change in income or any other relevant change.

Oregon spousal support guidelines (Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 107.135 (3)(a)) states that for compensatory support to be modified, the requesting spouse must show an involuntary, unexpected and extraordinary change that reduces the payor spouse’s earning capacity or ability to pay.

For instance, if the supported spouse gets a job before the duration of alimony elapses, the supporting spouse can ask the court to review the support order. Involuntary job loss or a health condition that reduces the paying spouse’s earning capacity could also warrant the modification of alimony.

If the award is made for transitional or maintenance support, change of circumstance can be based upon the improved financial situation of the supported spouse. A worse financial position for the payor spouse could also warrant support modification.

– Termination of Alimony

Oregon spousal support automatically terminates upon the death of either party. The obligation to pay support also ends when the duration ordered by the court elapses. This is the case as courts will specify the amount and duration of support when entering a judgment.

Unless such a provision exists in the judgment, the supported spouse’s remarriage doesn’t automatically terminate spousal support. However, the court may review remarriage in determining whether there is a substantial and unanticipated change of circumstances and, if so, what the proper support amount should be.


– What Is the Average Spousal Support in Oregon?

The circumstances of each divorce case are unique, and the amount and duration of spousal support are decided on a case-by-case basis. As such, it may be challenging to state Oregon’s average amount and duration of spousal support. However, a rule of thumb is that you will pay spousal support Oregon for half the length of your marriage.

– What Is a Spouse Entitled to in a Divorce in Oregon?

In a divorce, Oregon courts presume that the spouses contributed equally to acquire most of their property during the marriage, regardless of the name on the title. As such, spouses are entitled to an equitable distribution of marital property. Oregon divorce laws provide that property acquired equally should be split equally. However, spouses are not entitled to separate property such as gifts and inheritance.

– How Long Does a Divorce in Oregon Take?

Since there’s no waiting period in Oregon, divorce can be completed in a few weeks if there are no contentious issues. However, divorce may last several months to a year or more before it is finalized if it is contested. However, the duration of your divorce will depend on the issues at hand, the court workload, and the judge’s availability.


In Oregon, a spouse has to meet the requirements for spousal support for a judge to award support. Judges reserve the power to decide the amount and duration of support but are guided by various factors depending on the type of support to be awarded. In this article, we’ve highlighted how support is determined and the various types available. Here’s a roundup of the discussion.Alimony in oregon all you need to know

  • The factors considered in calculating alimony depend on the type of spousal support awarded by the court.
  • Oregon’s most common types of support are temporary, short-term transitional or compensatory support, and spousal maintenance.
  • The court can order spousal maintenance for a definite or indefinite duration depending on the ability of the supported spouse to bridge the income gap.
  • Depending on the payor spouse’s situation, the court can order periodic payments, a lump-sum payment, or a transfer of ownership of property.
  • Spousal support can be modified or terminated if the requesting spouse can demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances for either spouse since the entry of the last support order.

Courts in Oregon have full discretion in determining the type, amount, and duration of spousal support. However, spouses can have a say in these support aspects if they can agree on the terms of spousal support, rather than leaving it to the judge to decide. Working with a mediator or experienced family law attorney could also help spouses reach an agreement on spousal support.

5/5 - (12 votes)
Divorce & Finance