Spousal Support in Oregon

“Spousal support,” also called “alimony,” is money paid by one spouse to the other for a certain period of time (or in some cases, indefinitely). Spousal support can be ordered in monthly installments, in a lump sum, or in a combination.


Spousal support is awarded only in certain divorces. A significant disparity in incomes is usually a prerequisite to any award of spousal support. Either spouse may be ordered to pay spousal support to the other spouse. A spouse need not be unemployed to receive spousal support.

In deciding spousal support, the court may consider the length of your marriage, your relative earning capacities, your age and health, your child support responsibilities, your marital standard of living, potential tax consequences of the spousal support award, and any other factors the court deems just and equitable.

Indefinite spousal support will likely only be awarded if your marriage lasted for twenty years or more. The amount of spousal support must be “just and equitable” under the totality of the circumstances, which leaves the judge considerable discretion. It can be difficult to predict a judge’s spousal support award, so this is often mediated or agreed upon between the parties.


In Oregon, there are three types of spousal support: transitional, compensatory, and maintenance.

  • • TRANSITIONAL SPOUSAL SUPPORT allows one spouse to obtain necessary education or job training to reenter the job market after divorce. This type of support is usually paid for a limited, fixed period of time, such as four years to finish college.
  • • COMPENSATORY SPOUSAL SUPPORT reimburses one spouse for contributing (financially or otherwise) to the other spouse’s education or career.
  • • MAINTENANCE SPOUSAL SUPPORT is sometimes awarded in long-term marriages, where one spouse earns higher income, and the other person’s standard of living would otherwise greatly decrease after divorce. Maintenance tends to be longer-term then the other types of support, and can even be indefinite.