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Luty v. Luty

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 09-08-2011
Case #: A141437
Armstrong, J. for the Court; Haselton P.J. & Duncan J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/A141437.pdf

Family Law: When a spouse’s reduction in income is caused by an indefinite suspension of his/her medical license because of a substance abuse disorder, the circumstances justify the court’s reconsideration of spousal support obligations under ORS 107.135.

Husband filed a motion to terminate, or alternatively, reduce his spousal support obligation and it was denied. He was held in contempt for the willful failure to fulfill the parties’ stipulated dissolution judgment obligations and wife was awarded attorney fees. Husband appealed raising three errors. The Court rejected without discussion the errors regarding the contempt determination and the related attorney fees award. However, the Court held that the trial court erred in determining that his income reduction was not a significant change in circumstances warranting a reduction or termination of his spousal support obligations under ORS 107.135. The Court considered how husband’s substance abuse disorder caused the income decrease and held that without sufficient information to predict his medical license reinstatement, there was a substantial change in circumstances justifying reconsideration of spousal support obligations. Therefore, the Court reversed and remanded with instruction to terminate the spousal support obligation. Reversed in part; otherwise, affirmed.