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Tilson and Tilson

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 12-26-2013
Case #: A151442
Lagesen, J. for the Court; Schuman, P.J.; and Duncan, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A151442.pdf

Family Law: Modification of spousal support award is warranted upon spouse's remarriage if the remarriage constitutes a substantial, unanticipated change in economic circumstances. Continuation of maintenance support award may be appropriate if the remarriage does not address or fully satisfy the purposes of the original spousal support award.

Husband appealed judgment modifying wife’s spousal support award and wife cross-appealed.  Husband and wife dissolved their marriage and the trial court awarded spousal support to wife, which included both transitional support and maintenance support.  Approximately five months after dissolution, wife remarried.  Upon wife’s new marriage, husband moved to modify the award of spousal support.  The trial court concluded that wife’s changed circumstances due to her remarriage warranted the discontinuation of transitional support, but did not warrant modification of the maintenance support.  Husband argued that the trial court erred in its decision to continue maintenance support, while wife argued that her remarriage did not constitute a substantial change in economic circumstances and thus the court was not authorized to reconsider the original spousal support award.  Neither husband nor wife anticipated wife’s remarriage and wife’s new husband’s income was at least partially available to wife.  Thus, the Court found that the trial court had the authority to modify the original spousal support award because wife’s remarriage constituted a substantial, unanticipated change in economic circumstances under ORS 107.135(3)(a).  The Court also found that wife’s remarriage did not address some of the original purposes of the initial spousal support award.  Thus, it is equitable and just for wife to receive monthly maintenance support.  Affirmed.