Asked in Divorce for Oregon

Q: Her lawyer states I'm not entitled to spousal support, even though her income is 6 times more than mine?

Married 16 years. If I challenge the petition, it states I will have to pay her legal fees?

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3 Lawyer Answers
Joanne Reisman
Joanne Reisman
Answered
  • Portland, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: If your comments are based on the allegations in the Petition you should understand that what the Petition says isn't what the Judge is necessarily going to do. You need to get a consultation with an experienced family law Attorney and find out what courts typically do in situations with the same facts as your marriage. You also need to file a response within 30 days of being served. While a Response can simply say you appear which is going to dispute everything it is far more helpful to file a response asking for what you think you deserve and making such requests based on the advise of your Attorney. Your request needs to be realistic. As for you paying her legal fees - a court awarding legal fees to either party in an Oregon divorce is very very rare and is usually based on either one party misbehaving during the divorce which misbehavior caused unnecessary Attorney's Fees or based on one party having a much worse economic situation then the other party so they need help paying their Attorney's Fees. But even in this latter situation a court may just award property and spousal support and still tell you to pay your own fees. Again, you don't increase your risk of paying Attorney's Fee merely by exercising your rights to file a response and seek a fair trial. But again, you need to be reasonable and realistic. Asking for outrageous things could be seen as wasting everyone's time and could result in an award of Attorney's Fees. Get legal advice and you should be fine.

Daniel DiCicco
Daniel DiCicco
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Portland, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: It's perfectly reasonable for you to petition for spousal support given the length of the marriage and the disparity in income. You would likely be successful in seeking an award. Attorney fees are generally granted when someone stakes out a dumb or unreasonable position and wastes everyone's time. You need to get yourself a family lawyer.

Vincent J. Bernabei
Vincent J. Bernabei
Answered
  • Beaverton, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: There are three types of spousal support in Oregon: compensatory, maintenance and transitional. In deciding whether to award spousal support, and the type, amount and duration of spousal support, the court will generally consider the following factors:

(I) The duration of the marriage;

(ii) The age of the parties;

(iii) The health of the parties, including their physical, mental and emotional condition;

(iv) The standard of living established during the marriage;

(v) The relative income and earning capacity of the parties, recognizing that the wage earner's continuing income may be a basis for support distinct from the income that the supported spouse may receive from the distribution of marital property;

(vi) A party's training and employment skills;

(vii) A party's work experience;

(viii) The financial needs and resources of each party;

(ix) The tax consequences to each party;

(x) A party's custodial and child support responsibilities;

(xi) Any other factors the court deems just and equitable.

You should request that your spouse be required to pay your attorney fees. If you don't ask for your attorney fees, the court cannot award them.

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