As part of the divorce proceedings, an Oregon judge may find that one spouse, who earns a substantially higher income, must pay alimony to the lower-earning spouse. Alimony payments may also be pre-determined by couples in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. Alimony payments may support living expenses and/or educational expenses for the former spouse or serve as reimbursement for support they provided to their spouse during the marriage. It is always the preference of the court to honor the agreement of the parties, as it saves the court time and money if the individuals are able to come to an agreement on their own. However, the court will determine the alimony amount, when necessary, by weighing a number of factors, such as how long the couple was married, the sacrifices and contributions that were made to the marriage by each party, and the relative ability of each party to support themselves financially.
Changing the Amount
The amount of alimony that you agreed to, or that you were ordered to pay, was based on your financial circumstances and responsibilities at the time, and we all know that things can change. If your financial circumstances have changed—for instance, you have lost your job or taken a lower-paying job—or, the financial need of your ex-spouse has changed—for instance, they are now earning more than they were, or have remarried—you can file a petition to have the alimony amount adjusted accordingly.
It is important to note that generally the change in your circumstances must be involuntary and unexpected. In other words, if you quit your job, the court may not take pity on you since it was your choice to leave. However, there is a possible exception when you take a lower-paying job as part of a longer-term career plan. In these instances, if you can show that you took a lower-paying job in good faith, for instance, because it offered benefits or more stability or better potential for career growth, then the court will still consider reducing the amount of alimony you have to pay, even though it was a voluntary decision.
What to do if You Lose Your Job
If you lose your job, it is important to act quickly and to continue making any scheduled payments unless you have received different advice from a licensed Oregon Spousal support Attorney. Although you have the grounds to ask the court to adjust the amount of your alimony payments, losing your job does not automatically give you the right to stop payments—you still have to ask the judge permission first. Start by filing a Motion to Modify Alimony, or by having your lawyer file this. If successful, this motion can be backdated to apply through the date you served your ex-spouse with the motion to modify.
After you file, the court will schedule a hearing to determine whether to adjust your payments. At this hearing, you will need to present evidence to support the change in financial circumstances that you are alleging.
Contact a Spousal Support Attorney
If you have questions about spousal support payments, or your financial circumstances have changed and you need your payments adjusted, contact an experienced Spousal Support Attorney today.
The Oregon Criminal Code provides that a person is considered incapable of consenting to a sexual act if the person is:
The law further provides that “a lack of verbal or physical resistance does not, by itself, constitute consent but may be considered by the trier of fact along with all other relevant evidence.” See ORS 163.315
The Rules of Consent
A person under 18 cannot consent to a sexual act.
Oregon Law provides that a person under 18 years of age cannot consent to a sexual act. In Oregon, you must be at least 18 years old to give valid consent. Consent given by an individual under the age of 18 will not be presumed valid. However, there may be defenses available, such as the defense specified in ORS163.345, nicknamed the “Romeo and Juliet” defense. This defense applies when two individuals who are both at least 15 years of age, and are within three years of one another’s age, engage in intercourse. Applied successfully, this defense rebuts the assumption that the consent is de facto invalid because one or both of the parties were under 18 years old. However, both individuals must still have voluntarily consented.
Your ignorance or mistake may not be a defense. ORS 163.325 provides that in certain sex crime prosecutions ignorance or mistake is a limited defense when it comes to knowing the age of your sexual partners. An affirmative defense may apply if the defendant reasonably believed the child to be above a specified age at the time of the alleged offense for crimes that depend on the child being under a specified age other than 16. If a child is under 16 years of age, however, it is not a defense that a defendant reasonably believed the child to be older than the age of 16. Even if they showed you a fake ID, it is a strict liability offense to engage in sexual activity with a minor under 16 years of age.
Other Factors for Consent: Physical Helplessness, Mental Incapacitation or Mental Defect.
In addition to age, other factors must be met in order for consent to be presumed valid. For instance, consent must have been given by an individual of sound mind. If there is evidence of mental defect, the person was unconscious or asleep, whether the person was under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, or even if the individual believes that they were drugged, these circumstances could be the basis for and arrest and prosecution for major felony sex crimes.
Importance of Verbal Consent
Under Oregon law, lack of physical or verbal resistance alone is not enough to find consent. In these instances, a judge or jury will look into the circumstances surrounding the alleged crime in order to determine of whether a person was capable of consent. However, the best way to avoid difficult legal situations in court is to ensure that you have enthusiastic and verbal consent from your sexual partner before anything happens.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or your loved one has been accused of sexual misconduct, contact a lawyer immediately. Sex crimes in Oregon can carry mandatory minimum sentences under Ballot Measure 11. In some circumstances, Jessica’s Law may also apply, which carries a mandatory minimum of 300 months imprisonment.