July 4, 2011

New Case Law – Offer of Proof and Importance on Allowing Evidence at Trial

On June 29, 2011, the Oregon Court of Appeals decided Beebe and Beebe.

This appeal was based on a former husband’s motion to modify his child support and spousal support obligations based on a change in his financial circumstances and a perceived change in his former wife’s need for transitional support.  The trial court modified the husband’s child support obligation, but refused to modify his spousal support obligation or to allow the husband to testify regarding the transitional support award.  Over the husband’s counsel’s objections, the trial court stated that inquiry into the purpose of transitional support was irrelevant because the parties had stipulated to the spousal support award in their dissolution judgment.  Thus neither party developed the record on the issue of the wife’s current need for transitional support.  The Court of Appeals stated that the fact that the parties had stipulated to the support award did not bar the husband from bringing a motion to modify the award and attempting to prove a substantial change in circumstances.  The Court of Appeals found that there was an insufficient record regarding the transitional support award, and remanded the case for a new trial on the spousal support modification issue.

The entire opinion can be found here: