Divorce – Case Law Update – Life Insurance Insuring Support

free-vector-scales-of-justice_099380_Scales_of_justiceOn June 17, 2015, the Oregon Court of Appeals published two opinions addressing requirements that spouses paying child and/or spousal support maintain life insurance policies for the benefit of the payees to secure support.

In Moyer and Moyer, 271 Or App 853 (2015), Husband filed a motion to terminate or modify the spousal support he was previously ordered to pay, based on his retirement.  The court modified the support award to be stepped down each year and terminate after three years.  The life insurance policy requirements, however, were not modified.  The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the trial court’s decision to modify Husband’s life insurance obligation, holding that the obligation “must be commensurate with the ordered spousal support.”

In Mitchell v. Mitchell, 271 Or App 800 (2015), the trial court did not provide an explanation for why it chose to require Husband to maintain a $750,000 life insurance policy while he was paying support and then a $250,000 policy for the rest of his life.  The Court of Appeals, which reversed the trial court’s ruling regarding support amounts as well, requested that the trial court on remand to articulate its decision regarding life insurance.