Provisions of Judgment in Oregon
Oregon law defines a judgment as a concluding decision made by a court regarding issues brought in a case. Once the court makes its ruling in a case, it puts the decision in writing in a judgment document. Under state law, the court may render a judgment in a dissolution of marriage (divorce), annulment or legal separation that contains provisions regarding spousal support, child custody and support, parenting time, and property division and distribution.
When spouses have minor children born, adopted or conceived during the marriage, the court must decide the future care and custody of the children. The judgment may order sole or joint custody by one or both parents, respectively. In determining custody, there is no automatic preference of the mother over the father, and, therefore, the court decides custody based on what is in the child's best interest. The court encourages close contact between the child and both parents and may prefer a joint custody arrangement. However, both parents must agree to joint custody for a judge to order such an arrangement. Joint custody means that both parents share the rights and responsibilities to make decisions for their children, such as education, religion, child's residence and healthcare.
Parenting time is the visitation time the noncustodial parent has to visit with their children. A parenting plan is an outline of the responsibilities of the parents and includes the terms of parenting time. A parenting plan can be general or detailed. A parenting plan must state the minimum amount of parenting time and access the noncustodial parent has with the children. A detailed parenting plan may state the rules for:
• Residential schedule
• Relocation of parents
• Access and sharing of information
• Telephone access
Both parents have a duty to support their children financially. In an annulment, dissolution or legal separation, the court usually does not waive child support by the noncustodial parent. The court may not order support for a self-supporting child, emancipated, married or not in school after 18 years old. The child support provision binds the paying parent until the obligation ends. The court determines the child support obligation for the paying parent based on child support guidelines. In calculating child support, determinations such as each parent's income, parenting time, health insurance, and Social Security or Veteran's benefits may affect how much the parent must pay.
The provision for spousal support is a certain amount of money paid by one spouse to the other. Oregon law sets forth three types of spousal support a spouse may receive – transitional support, compensatory support or spousal maintenance. Payments can be in a lump sum, installments or both.
Transitional spousal support provides the receiving spouse with the money to get the education or training needed to reenter or advance in the job market. The amount of support depends on the duration of the marriage, the receiving spouse's work experience and each spouse's financial need. A court may award a spouse compensatory support when they have contributed significantly to the paying spouse's education, training, career or earning capacity. Factors for compensatory support include the length of the marriage and the amount, duration and nature of the contribution. Spousal maintenance support is financial support by one spouse to the other for a specific or indefinite period. Maintenance support factors may include the standard of living the receiving spouse had during the marriage and each of the spouses' incomes.
Provisions in the judgment regarding property division may state whether the property is separate or marital. The court may order the distribution of property to each spouse and the delivery of the property. Oregon law distributes marital property by equitable distribution. Spouses receive marital property based on what is fair but not necessarily equal.
Talk to an Attorney
At Gearing Rackner & McGrath, we know that circumstances change, and so too should spousal support, child custody and support, and parenting time. Our team of dedicated Oregon family law and divorce attorneys has broad experience assisting clients with modification of support orders, as well as other issues that may come up after a divorce is final. We can advise you whether a modification order will likely be successful, and if you determine to pursue a modification, we will aggressively advocate on your behalf. Call us now at 503-222-9116 to schedule a consultation with one of our divorce attorneys in Oregon or SW Washington.