Spousal Support: When Will It End?

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September 11, 2013

“I know my former spouse is living with someone new. I hear from family and friends that they are taking extravagant vacations together. I have also seen my former spouse driving a new luxury vehicle. Our dissolution judgment orders me to pay monthly spousal support, but I do not want to fund my former spouse’s new relationship in any way. What can I do to end my spousal support obligation?” Although Oregon law does not require spousal support to automatically terminate upon remarriage or cohabitation, you can seek a modification of your spousal support obligation and ask the court to terminate it. Oregon courts use a two-step process to determine if a remarriage or cohabitation will result in termination of spousal support. The first step is to determine the purpose of the spousal support award. If the purpose of the spousal support award was to maintain an economic standard of living that is not overly disproportionate to what was enjoyed during the marriage, then the court performs the second step to decide whether the change (remarriage or cohabitation) satisfies that purpose. The court looks at “potential shared income” of the spousal support recipient and the person they are now living with. The court ultimately looks at the standard of living of you and your former spouse during the marriage and the current standard of living of the spousal support recipient. Some factors the court compares in this analysis are lifestyle, type of accommodations and travel. If your former spouse is enjoying a lifestyle with their new significant other, without the addition of the spousal support you are paying, that either equals or surpasses the lifestyle you and your former spouse used to enjoy, it may be time to ask the court to end spousal support. Meeting with an attorney to go over the specific facts of your case will provide you with the information you need to determine if you can put a stop to financially supporting your former spouse now that they are in a new relationship.