Review of Oregon Alimony Case Denied by U.S. Supreme Court
November 17, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Review of Oregon alimony case denied by U.S. Supreme Court

Complex financial factors can challenge the smooth resolution of any divorce case, even if the spouses generally agree on issues of property division, child support or spousal support. More often, there is some disagreement over issues such as one spouse's obligation to pay or how a fair division of marital debt should be accomplished.

An Oregon divorce dispute that originated in Linn County in 2009 has finally come to a conclusion after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case. Both the Oregon Court of Appeals and the Oregon Supreme Court had also refused to hear the case, which involved the husband's obligation to pay alimony.

The husband, whose only income is provided by disability benefits from the Social Security and Veterans Administrations, argued that his VA disability benefits cannot be used to determine spousal support obligations because such payments are solely intended for the welfare of the veteran.

The husband was ordered to pay $1,000 per month in alimony to his ex-wife based on the combined total of his SSDI and VA benefits. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act (FSPA) specifically provides that benefits for veterans are subject to divorce judgments. This federal law was passed in response to a Supreme Court holding in 1981 that protected military retirement funds from spousal support awards.

None of the appellate courts apparently found legal merit in the husband's argument that the FSPA was not intended to be applied to disability benefits for veterans. In an interview with The Oregonian earlier this year, the husband's divorce lawyer was optimistic that differences among various states in the treatment of disability benefits would lead the Supreme Court to weigh in on this issue.

Seeking legal advice for complex financial issues in divorce

Resolving financial matters is a vital part of the divorce process, as both spouses have a vital interest in securing an independent future and maintaining their lifestyles to the best extent possible. From marital property division to splitting a pension or retirement account, a divorce lawyer can explain a client's rights and suggest strategies to minimize conflict via mediation.

In some cases, spouses may be amenable to balancing spousal support obligations with possession of certain assets such as a family home. A family law attorney can explain a wide range of factors, from valuation of a closely held business to the long term tax implications of a divorce.

Article provided by DeBast, McFarland & Richardson, LLP
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