In Oregon, an average of 27,000 marriages occur each year. Most spouses expect to stay together in matrimony for the rest of their lives. However, some marriages come to an end. One or both spouses may seek a legal separation or a divorce.
A legal separation is a court order that results in a married couple remaining married by agreeing not to live together as spouses. They can decide to legally separate for a time. The only ground for legal separation under Oregon law is irreconcilable differences. The couple may later choose to return to court to remove legal separation and resume their marriage. In other instances, the spouses may decide to change their separation to a divorce.
Approximately 14,000 divorces occur in Oregon each year. A couple who files for divorce seeks to end the marriage. Like legal separation, the only ground for divorce in Oregon is irreconcilable differences. One or both spouses must meet the state law residence requirements for filing for divorce and file in the appropriate court.
A court may order spousal support in legal separation and divorce cases. Spousal support is money that a court orders one spouse to pay to the other. Spousal support is not mandatory, and in some cases, not awarded to either spouse. Factors used to determine the amount of spousal support, if awarded at all, include length of the marriage, the financial condition of each spouse and financial parental responsibilities.
Spousal support is usually a fixed monthly amount; however, it may be paid in installments or all at once. Oregon has three types of spousal support, and the paying spouse may be required to pay more than one type. The three types are:
- Compensatory support is for contribution to the other spouse’s education, career and earning capacity.
- Support maintenance gives the other spouse the ability to maintain the lifestyle they are accustomed to.
- Transitional support provides finances for the other spouse to get an education or training to reenter the workforce.