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 "To Promote Respect, Independence and Equity for the Parties to Divorce"
 
 

Draft Legislation

Back in 2013 we had draft legislation for consideration in the 2013 legislative session: HB 2559. You can obtain this 28 page document by following this link.

Now in 2015 we have 2 bills for consideration. HB 2332 covers the ability to share financial information without returning to court. HB 2495 covers more fundamental issues with spousal support. A latest draft can be found here.

We also have a template letter which you may want to use to write to your representatives. If you are not sure who your representatives are we have a web page here which will help you. We have made great progress, but we need to maintain the interest and push until the job is done. Thank you for your support. 

OAR



NY Times

Alimony Reform across the states, including Oregon, gets coverage in this New York Times article on March 5th, 2012:

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Oregon Alimony Reform launches operations and advocacy initiatives Alimony payers in Oregon have organized in the form of Oregon Alimony Reform (OAR) to promote respect, independence and equity for the parties of divorce.  The goal of OAR is to reform and modernize alimony laws in Oregon. Our diverse management team includes professionals in the fields of law, business and public relations.

Fundamentally, OAR believes that an alimony payer should not have a permanent or indefinite duty to maintain a former spouse’s chosen standard of living, but rather that each former spouse should be entitled to a fair and equitable standard of living for a reasonable but limited period of time post divorce.
  Oregon is one of fourteen States that has recently seen the collective formation of alimony advocacy groups and legislators are listening. In 2011, Massachusetts implemented sweeping alimony reforms, Florida’s House Judiciary Committee overwhelmingly approved the drafting of a new alimony bill and New Jersey’s Judiciary Committee voted in favor of a bill dealing with alimony reform.  We are working towards the holistic amendment of alimony laws in Oregon.  Our agenda for alimony reform includes
(1) limiting the duration of alimony payments to a reasonable period of time,
(2) excluding the income of a payer’s romantic partners and future spouses in determining alimony amounts,
(3) the end of alimony payments on remarriage or cohabitation,
(4) limits on the maximum amounts of alimony payable,
(5) automatic termination of alimony payments upon good-faith retirement, and
(6) a streamlined process for modifications when the payer suffers a decline in income.

OAR and its many supporters have identified the urgent need for an equitable alimony calculator, similar to the child support model. This will give divorcing parties clarity, predictability and reasonable alimony amounts.  As it stands now, alimony awards vary wildly from case to case and from county to county in Oregon.  In addition, even if the payer is unable to make the alimony payment because of a decline in income, and regardless of whether the recipient actually needs the payment, modifications are expensive and hard to obtain.

OAR is working tirelessly to ensure that arbitrary and indefinite alimony awards become a legacy of the past.  We have been approached by numerous alimony payers who struggle simply to make ends meet, while their previous spouses enjoy the fruits of their labor indefinitely. Many alimony payers are legally forced into a lifetime of servitude, working solely to benefit adults capable of exercising some responsibility for their own lives.

With over 40% of marriages ending in divorce, the negative economic impact of this current situation on payers and their subsequent families is enormous. We invite alimony payers to join their voices to ours and encourage them to contact us and share their stories in any of the following ways:

TEXT 42828 Type Keyword OAR
Thank you for your support of Oregon Alimony Reform.
 
 

We Need Your Unjust Alimony Stories

Did you have a bad experience with your alimony in Oregon?  We are looking for alimony (spousal support) injustice stories from Oregon to feaure on our website.
 
 

 
 

Alimony Reform Needed in Oregon

 

Across the country alimony reform changes are being made in various states with the objective of moving alimony laws into the 21st century. In 2011 Massachusetts voted in significant alimony reform changes, Florida is following close behind. [Alimony Reform Sweeps the Coast]

 

Massachusetts

 

Massachusetts changes included:

 

* Alimony durational limits.

* Alimony terminates upon the payer attaining full retirement age.
* Exclusion of payer's new spouse income and assets from the modification action.

* Cohabitation of the recipient for 3 months is grounds for modification: suspension, lowering or termination.

* Alimony is terminated on the re-marriage of the recipient.

* Alimony should not exceed the recipient's need or to 30% to 35% of the difference in gross incomes at the time of the order.

 

Florida

 

Florida has a current house bills, HB 549 which includes provisions that will:


* Limit the maximum duration of alimony based on the length of marriage; Even 20+ year marriages limit alimony to 50% of the length of the marriage;
* Terminate alimony upon full retirement age (currently 66, determined by the U.S. Social Security Administration), except in extreme circumstances;
* Cap alimony at no more than 20 percent of the payer’s NET monthly income;
* Allow existing alimony payers to modify their judgments based on the new law;
* Revise cohabitation standards;
* Prohibit using a payer’s current spouse’s income or assets in a modification;
* Revise provisions for the tax treatment and consequences of alimony

 

On February 16th, 2012 the Florida House Judiciary Committee voted on the proposed HB 549 bill and passed it 17-1 to move forward.
Florida House Judiciary Committee Approves Bill (STARTS AT 126 MINUTES): VIDEO
 
On February 23rd, 2012 the Florida House voted on  HB 549 and passed it 83-30.
 
Unfortunately at the end of the 2012 session the Senate failed to bring HB 549 to the floor or offer an alternative Senate bill. Hence progress is deferred until the next legislative session.
 

What are the issues in Oregon?

 

Like Massachusetts and Florida, Oregon has "indefinite" alimony. This does NOT mean "permanent", but does in fact mean "not defined". While this supposedly modifiable, history has shown that modification and termination is difficult, time consuming and costly. One would think that losing one's job would be just cause for a reduction in alimony, but this is not the case. A recent case illustrates the issue. An ex-husband earning $13,000 per month and paying $2050 per month in spousal support requested modification on losing his job after his severance pay ran out. At the time he was receiving just $1800 in unemployment benefit.

At court the judge lowered the spousal support payment to $1550 plus $200 child support, leaving his ex-wife, earning $4000 per month, with $5550 per month and the ex-husband with $50. Why should someone with an income of $1800 pay someone with an income of $4000? Enforcing alimony limits would avoid this injustice.

 

Likewise, alimony is supposedly modifiable on retirement; however it is unclear how often this actually happens. How often is retirement considered "not in good faith"? How often has the ex-husband started his retirement with costly legal fees, only have his request rejected and to discover that he has to spend a large chunk of his retirement on his ex-spouse; In most cases retirement funds are equalized at the time of divorce so there should be no obligation after retirement.  This is double dipping. It needs to stop. Termination at retirement should be automatic.

 

Oregon seems unique in considering the income of the cohabiter in the case of the payer. Massachusetts and Florida are specifically excluding this. The new wife, or cohabiter, of the payer has no legal obligation to pay the ex-spouse. This is unjust and immoral. Massachusetts and Florida are making the right move. Attached is a subpoena from a recent case, sent to the cohabiter of the unemployed ex-husband, where the ex-wife is attempting to get the cohabiter to pay her alimony.

 

Many cases involve ex-spouses who are fully capable of supporting themselves financially, but have no incentive to do so as they have been awarded a healthy income from their ex. Instead the payer is left to suffer for the rest of their life. Women have been known to claim $1000's of dollars in expenses for extravagant international vacations, which are part of the "lifestyle they are accustomed to", while their payer ex are struggling financially.

 

Without clear guidelines on spousal support, court cases are argued over ill-defined case law. Today’s injustice is justified on past injustices. Divorce cases and alimony modification hearings become costly and time consuming.

 

Oregon can easily move in the right direction by adopting the modifications adopted by Massachusetts in 2011. Specifically I would recommend the following:

 

* Alimony terminates at retirement.
* Limit alimony duration to 50% of the length of the marriage.

* Exclusion of payer's new spouse income and assets from the modification action.

* Alimony is terminated on the marriage of the recipient or cohabitation for 3 months.

* Alimony is limited to 25% of the difference in incomes at the time of the order or use 1/3 1/3 1/3 rule.

* Alimony is never payable when the recipient has more income than the payer.

 
 
 
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