Alimony 101: Find Out If You Qualify for Financial Support

Alimony, also known as spousal support, is a payment made from one spouse to another during and/or after a divorce. You are not required to have a spousal support attorney to submit the petition for alimony, but having one on your side may increase your chances of success. In Oregon, alimony falls under three categories: spousal maintenance, compensatory, and transitional.

Spousal maintenance is what most people think of when it comes to alimony. It involves ongoing payments to a spouse. Spousal maintenance is usually ordered when one spouse makes significantly less than the other and most likely the couple has been married for quite some time. This could be due to that spouse sacrificing their education or career to be a stay-at-home-parent or help the other spouse grow their own career. There could be other reasons as well such as health limitations.

Transitional support is usually scheduled on a shorter-term basis. It’s used to help a spouse return to school, find a self-supporting career or perhaps get back into the work force

Finally, compensatory support is awarded when one spouse made significant contributions to the marriage to further the education, career or growth of their partner.

It is possible for someone to be awarded more than one form of support or all three forms of support. For example, a spouse that sacrificed their career and time to help their partner could be awarded compensation and then transitional support so they can find a job. Even if they find a job, it’s possible for the transitional support to then become ongoing spousal maintenance, otherwise known as alimony. Furthermore, alimony can be awarded in lump sum payments as well, such as in the case of compensatory support. You will want to talk to you divorce lawyer about your particular circumstances.

Will I Get Alimony in My Divorce?

The answer to this question varies considerably as every case is different. Do not rely on an online alimony calculator to determine whether you would be entitled to spousal support. Oregon does not have a guideline calculator and it is very possible you will be getting bad or incorrect information. It’s best to bring this question to a family law attorney who can review your unique situation and help determine your spousal support eligibility.

Some of the criteria a judge may consider in a request for support may include:

  • How long the marriage lasted.
  • The individual contributions to the marriage.
  • If there are children involved and who has custody.
  • The financial impact and earning ability of both spouses.

Can I Also Obtain Child Support in Addition to Alimony?

Yes, Oregon family law allows the payment of both child support and alimony together. However, it’s important to note that alimony is not automatically granted. You must file a request for it during the divorce. Once the divorce has been finalized, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to “go back” and obtain alimony, so be sure to petition for it if you need it.