Perhaps one of the most compelling aspects of law is the ever-changing modifications of public statutes that mold and guide the structure of family law practice for Oregon attorneys, as well as how these modifications can and will affect their clients.
A recent addition to Oregon statute (ORS 107.408) now allows for a divorced spouse to request their ex’s first two pages of tax returns from the prior year in-order to determine if they want to file for spousal support modification, assuming portions of the prior obligation remain due and owing.
Previously, if a spouse desired to modify their spousal support order, they would have to file with the court before being able to access this information, a jump that required both time and money with no guarantee of any significant pay-off. The obvious downfall of this is that people would have to pay the expenses of filing fees and discovery requests in order to get a glimpse into their ex’s financial standing, a process that could potentially cost thousands of dollars. This new statute now allots ex-spouses the ability to request necessary documents before initiating a new case, thus creating the opportunity make an educated decision at minimal costs. Here’s the lowdown on some specifics of this new statute:
You can Request Either Tax Returns or W-2 Statements:
Upon written request received by one party from the other party, an individual must provide copies of the first and second pages of their most recently filed state and federal income tax returns. If the party has not filed income tax returns for the previous year, all W-2 statements, year-end payroll statements, interest and dividend statements, as well as all other records of earned income, must be provided.
Written Request Requirements:
As stated, a written request for documents under this section can be made without filing with the court a request for modification of the judgement, however there are a few guidelines and stipulations. For instance, a written request under this section can only be made once every two years. In addition to this, the requesting party must also provide the same documents to the non-requesting party. In other words, you can’t request your ex’s tax return information without giving insight into your own financial standing. If you don’t simultaneously provide either your tax returns or W-2 and payroll statements, your ex has no obligation to provide any documents.
Protecting Personal Information:
If you’re requesting documents from your ex, they have every right to redact any personal information that may be available on their tax returns. This means they can exclude all account numbers, personally identifying information, contact information and addresses from the forms.
If you’re interested in modifying a spousal support judgement, this new statute will make the process more viable and cost-effective. Rather than initiate a new case and potentially spend unnecessary amounts of money modifying your judgement, you can now request and provide documents that will give you and your ex-spouse an educated understanding of your financial standings, thus allowing you to formulate the best strategy for spousal support modifications moving forward.