May 25, 2011

New Case Law – Maintenance Support

On May 25, 2011, the Oregon Court of Appeals decided Abrams v. Abrams.

This decision reinforces the importance of allowing both parties in a divorce case to continue to support the lifestyle that existed during the marriage.  The trial court had awarded the wife $750 per month in transitional support for a period of 24 months to allow the wife, who had been a homemaker for most of the 30-year marriage, to return to the workforce and receive additional vocational training.  The Court of Appeals, considering the length of the marriage, the disparate education, career stability, and earning potential of the parties, and the standard of living during the marriage, awarded the wife indefinite maintenance support of $1,800 per month. The court recognized self-sufficiency as an important goal, but also stressed that the level of self-sufficiency required is related to the standard of living during the marriage and the ability of each party to achieve that standard of living.  In a case in which one party is unlikely to achieve a level of self-sufficiency that would allow her to support a lifestyle comparable to that which existed during the marriage, it is appropriate to award that party indefinite maintenance support.

The entire opinion can be found here: