Circumstances for Modification of Spousal Support

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January 19, 2011

In these uncertain economic times circumstances often change. Some people might retire, either voluntarily or involuntarily, while others may be laid off or “downsized.” In both instances, Oregon Law allows for modification of spousal support, as long as the changed circumstances are clearly established.

In the Matter of the Marriage of McArdle And McArdle, the Court of Appeals was asked to modify a spousal support award in a ten year marriage in which the sixty-three year old husband opted to retire. The husband’s $1500 monthly income drop was a significant enough decline to warrant a modification of spousal support.

In the Matter of the Marriage of Vandenberg and Vandenberg, the court was asked to modify an existing settlement in which the parties agreed to ten years of spousal support. The wife suffered from severe depression and asked that her support be extended because her mental health had not improved. The trial court noted that deterioration in the mental state of one of the parties could constitute changed circumstances, but the wife failed to show that her support award was predicated on her mental health improving. Thus, the wife’s failure to improve did not constitute a sufficient change in circumstances to support a modification of the judgment.