March 29, 2012

New Case Law – Modifications of Spousal Support

On March 28, 2012, the Oregon Court of Appeals decided Spillane and Spillane. In this case, the trial court had terminated the husband’s obligation to pay spousal support based on his declining health, and the wife appealed that decision. The court of appeals considered the evidence related to the husband’s declining health and determined that there was not a current change in circumstances related to the husband’s ability to pay, since his health problems had not yet prevented him from working full time, although he anticipated that they may do so at some point in the future. The court further found that both the husband’s COPD and hearing loss predated the parties’ divorce and that although they may have gotten worse since then, that was anticipated by the court at the time of the divorce and the court ordered indefinite spousal support in spite of it. The court also found that the husband had not proved a substantial decline in his income, and that he was enjoying a standard of living similar to that enjoyed during the marriage. The court stated that the husband had not met his burden of proof and reversed the trial court’s decision.

The entire opinion can be found here.