In Oregon, we use the word “compensatory spousal support,” which is a special statutory factor basically stating that you are giving me the spousal support to compensate me for the fact that I worked while you were in medical school.
If that word is written into a spousal support order in Oregon, it is very difficult to modify that amount in the person’s life. That part of the spousal support or the part that’s compensatory must be paid. There are other times when the parties will agree in the judgment where it’s an order of the court that this spousal support is not modifiable, or they’ll say it’s only modifiable under these circumstances. They’ll list some very specific reasons where it could be modified, or they’ll list reasons why it could not be modified.
There are a lot of unique ways you can craft a judgment if both parties agree to it to make spousal support not modifiable. Obviously, the risk for the person who agrees to that, who’s the paying person, is that, let’s say they lose their job or they become disabled or something really bad happens and they still have to pay this amount of money, they’re going to have to really think twice before they would agree to a nonmodifiable amount of support.
For the other person, they might agree to nonmodifiable support and maybe they agree to a lesser number or they’ve given something up in exchange for knowing this support is going to happen no matter what.
Laura Schantz is a family law attorney and mediator practicing in Beaverton, Oregon. To learn more about Laura Schantz and her firm, Schantz Law P.C., visit www.oregondivorceattorney.com.