Dan Margolin’s Oral Argument At Oregon Supreme Court On Non-Modifiable Child Support

Oregon Supreme Court family law cases are few and far between. Props to our lawyer Dan Margolin for having  review granted on a case of first impression. The attached video is Dan’s oral argument at the Oregon Supreme Court on Lisa Matar and Azzam Harake (S060064)(A143331)

The issue on review is “Are agreements not to seek modification of a child support award enforceable or do they violate public policy.”

A link to the video of the argument is here. 

Posted in Child Support, Divorce | 1 Comment

Dan Margolin quoted in the Portland Tribune regarding Oregon divorce residency requirements.

Dan Margolin, Partner at Stephens & Margolin LLP was quoted on August 15th 2012 in the Portland Tribune article titled “You know you’re an Oregonian when..”  regarding Oregon’s divorce residency requirement.

Posted in Divorce | 1 Comment

Should you monitor your spouse’s email during a divorce?

The short answer is “”NO!”As a divorce lawyer based in Portland, Oregon, I hear this question all too frequently. It  is always a bad idea during a divorce case. The other related situation situation is where a  potential client arrives in the office with a printed stack of intercepted or hacked emails and wants you to read them.  It is a very bad idea to intercept your spouses communications with the thought you will be able to use them in your divorce.  You are potentially violating the federal Wiretap Act, and Oregon has made  intercepting wire or verbal communications where you are not a party a Class A Misdemeanor. (ORS 165.543)

In other states, money damages have been awarded against the injured party in a divorce case where communications were monitored and misused. In Klumb v. Goan, 09-cv-115 (E.D. Tenn.; July 19, 2012), a Tennessee court awarded $10,000 in damages against Klumb for, in part, intercepting and then altering her husband’s emails in an effort to gain advantage in the divorce property division.

Other Popular Articles and links from the Oregon Divorce Blog

  1. Top 10 questions to ask a divorce lawyer in the first consultation.
  2. At what age can a child decide custody/parenting time?
  3. Contempt Of Court for Parenting Time Violations


Posted in Divorce | 2 Comments

About Stephens & Margolin LLP, who we are, and what we do!

Stephens & Margolin LLP, A Family Law Practice – Portland Oregon from Engaging Media on Vimeo.

Posted in Divorce | 1 Comment

Daniel S. Margolin of Stephens & Margolin LLP selected by Superlawyers magazine as a rising star.

We are pleased to announce that Daniel S. Margolin, partner at Stephens & Margolin LLP has been selected by Superlawyers Magazine as a rising star. Congratulations to Dan for his exceptional divorce help for Oregonians!

A link to the magazine listing is here.

A PDF of the magazine listing is here.

Posted in Divorce | 1 Comment

Dundee Murder-Suicide And Emergency Custody Order

Local and national news is abuzz with the tragic story of the Engels family, a murder-suicide that occurred in Dundee, OR on July 4, 2012. The news stories discuss that Amy Engels had filed for divorce on May 29th, 2012 and sought emergency custody of the children by filing for an emergency custody order under ORS 107.093(3).  I  previously blogged about the two types of emergency custody orders, first in 2008, and again in 2010.  Mrs. Engels’ filing was pre-judgment, and was denied when presented to Judge Carroll J. Tichenor. Mrs. Engels did not use a lawyer, and her affidavit in support of the emergency custody order was vague and didn’t list a specific danger to the children. It’s common for self represented litigants to prepare emergency custody filings with less detail than the court needs to grant an order.  She may have been able to obtain a Family Abuse Prevention Act Restraining order based on the threat that would have received more attention from law enforcement, but she didn’t apply for one, and we don’t know if she was advised to obtain one or not. A consultation with a divorce lawyer may have given Mrs. Engels the information she needed to obtain better protection.

The Oregonian published an early breaking story on the tragedy, as did the Associated Press. The Oregonian article can be found here.  The Associated Press article can be found here.

Other Popular Articles and links from the Oregon Divorce Blog

  1. Top 10 questions to ask a divorce lawyer in the first consultation.
  2. At what age can a child decide custody/parenting time?
  3. Contempt Of Court for Parenting Time Violations




Posted in Divorce | 1 Comment

The Gray Divorce Revolution

Divorce rates for 50 plus adults are surging.

I noticed from 17 years working as a family law attorney an increase in divorce for those over the age of 50.  I decided to do some research myself and was surprised to find out that divorce for partners over 50 was  higher than I had first thought. Jay Lebow, a psychologist at the Family Institute at Northwestern University, says, “If late-life divorce were a disease, it would be an epidemic.”

Why is this? Could it be the economy, stress or empty nest syndrome? People are living longer, which can be more difficult with an incompatible spouse.  Adult children don’t provide the same incentive for some couples to remain together as having small children at home.  Many women are now earning more than their spouse.  Also, the failure rate of second marriages is around 60 percent.

Ginita Wall, a San Diego CPA and certified divorce financial analyst said, “you need to keep in mind that many consequences of divorcing in later life is that there is less time to recover financially, to recoup losses, and ride the waves of booms and bust.”

On further research more than half of all workers or their spouses have less than $25,000 in household savings and investments, according to the 2011 Retirement Confidence Survey, which was published by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute. The financial impact from divorce after fifty impacts women disproportionately to men.  The poverty rate for older  women who are divorced, unmarried, or never married is as high as 20%.

Andrew Cherlin, a sociologist at Johns Hopkins University, was quoted as saying, “if a man gets divorced, his support in later life is gone. Plan B maybe to remarry because he needs a caregiver.”

Social security can also be impacted by divorce. We previously blogged about the effect of divorce on social security benefits in marriages of 10 years or more.  A recap of the relevant social security rules is below.

  • If you are 62 plus and have been married for more than 10yrs and are currently not married, and not entitled to receive a higher benefit based on your own work, you can receive benefits based on your ex’s earnings, even if he or she has remarried.
  • Generally the lower earner may receive benefits based on the higher earner’s work.
  • Should you have never worked, you can collect benefits on your ex’s work. However, your ex is still eligible to collect what he or she has earned over the years.
  • Should your ex not applied, but qualifies for benefits; you can still receive benefits if you have been divorced two years.
  • You can collect a divorced spouse’s benefit without reducing the amount of your ex’s benefit.
  • Remember the longer you can wait to collect divorced spousal benefit up to your full retirement age the higher your benefit will be.
Divorcing later in life can present issues unique to those over 50.  I think consulting with a lawyer familiar with divorce for older adults is critical prior to taking any action on your own.


Posted in Divorce | 2 Comments

Supreme Court allows review

The Oregon Supreme Court recently accepted review of my client’s appeal.  The case deals with whether not parents can contract in order to make child support non-modifiable.  The result of the appeal will have long ranging implications for both parents and family law practicioners.  Oral argument is scheduled for November 8, 2012.

A copy of the Order Allowing Review is here.


Posted in Divorce | 1 Comment

New Case Law – Determination of Just and Equitable Spousal Support Award is within the Trial Court’s Discretion

On May 16, 2012, the Oregon Court of Appeals decided Berg and Berg. In this case, the wife appealed the amount and duration of the trial court’s award of spousal support. The Court of Appeals stated that it would not disturb the trial court’s discretionary determination unless the trial court had misapplied the statutory standard. In this case, despite the fact that the trial court did not make detailed findings about the reasons for its award, the Court of Appeals found that there was evidence in the record sufficient to support the award of spousal support and affirmed. Since this decision was within the trial court’s discretion, the Court of Appeals would not look further than that, despite the wife’s contention that the award was inequitable.

The entire opinion can be found here.

Posted in Dissolution, Divorce, News, Spousal Support | 1 Comment

New Case Law – Just and Equitable Division of Shares in Business

On May 16, 2012, the Oregon Court of Appeals decided Gay and Gay. This case involved the division of shares in a closely held corporation as part of a general judgment of dissolution. The husband and wife were minority shareholders in the small business that the husband worked for, the majority shareholder was the business owner. The husband was in the process of acquiring shares from the owner in order to eventually become the majority shareholder and owner of the business once the present owner retired.

At trial, the husband and wife could not agree as to how to value or divide the shares acquired during the marriage. Expert witnesses assigned various values to the shares at trial, however, because the business was closely held, and the shares were not saleable on the open market, the trial court determined that they had no true market value. The trial court determined that a just and equitable division of the shares under the circumstances would be to award half of them to the husband and half to the wife. The wife appealed, arguing that it would make more sense for the court to award all of the shares to the husband, since he was to become the majority shareholder, and to order the husband to pay her the fair market value of the shares. The Court of Appeals, on review, determined that, although the division of shares ordered by the trial court might not be ideal, it was permissible under Oregon law and the Kunze line of cases. Because the trial court’s division was permissible based on the facts in evidence, the Court of Appeals could not reverse it simply because it was less convenient for one or both of the parties.

The entire opinion can be found here.

Posted in Dissolution, Divorce, News, Property Division | 1 Comment