When there’s a chance that you may have to pay the other side’s attorney fees. Going through this process is very risky unless there’s a very strong chance that you’re going to win.
There are cases where the client hasn’t retired yet, is thinking of retiring, or has retired but maybe is still getting some benefit from the business that they sold or something else where their income is just off the charts. The other side is just barely making it. In that case, the judge is going to have the sympathy factor for the huge discrepancy in incomes or assets that are available to support each person. If it’s a gigantic discrepancy, even though it seems like there should be a termination and this person’s income has gone down, the attorney would tell that client that they just don’t see a strong enough chance that would be worth taking that risk. An attorney should wait until it’s the right time and all the factors are lined up.
Other things an attorney can do is take the deposition of the new husband or the new live-in partner and look at how much this person is really earning. Either it’s good, they’re really earning some good money that could take the place of the spousal support, or you find out no, they’re not really earning that much money, it’s not going to be enough to take the place of the spousal support. In that case, we shouldn’t go forward because we’re not going to prevail and the risks are too great.
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.