Divorce – Case Law Update – Spousal Support

free-vector-scales-of-justice_099380_Scales_of_justiceOn August 20, 2015, the Oregon Court of Appeals published a new opinion regarding spousal support in divorce cases.  In DeAngeles and DeAngeles, 273 Or App 88 (2015), Husband and Wife were married for 17 years.  The trial court awarded Husband transitional spousal support of $1,000 per month for two years.  The limited period of support was based on evidence that Wife’s job would only last two more years.

On appeal, Husband argued that spousal support should have been higher and for a longer duration.  The Court of Appeals remanded the case for reconsideration of the spousal support awarded because the trial court made no findings to support an award of transitional support.

There are two items of note in this opinion.  First, the trial court likely intended to award maintenance spousal support instead of transitional spousal support.  In its written opinion, the trial court specified that it was awarding maintenance support, but the Judgment that the court signed specified transitional spousal support.  This was likely simply an error on the part of the parties who created the Judgment, but it highlights the importance of consistency between the Judgment language and the court’s orders.  An explanation of the differences in the types of spousal support a court may award in Oregon can be found here.

Second, the Court of Appeals suggested that the trial court on remand review the decision to award support that terminates after two years.  The Court of Appeals expressed concern over the duration because it was based on a “speculative contingency.”  Specifically, that Wife would no longer have a job in two years.