Spousal Support

Spousal support, or alimony, involves one spouse providing an ex-spouse with financial support after a divorce, allowing the recipient to maintain the same quality of life post-divorce.

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Spousal Support Agreements

Spousal support is a payment made by one spouse to the other spouse. Generally, there is no legal formula or straightforward calculation to consider when determining whether spousal support is appropriate or reasonable in your situation. Spousal support is also not gender-specific; it is typically based on the incomes of the parties and the duration of the marriage.

Spousal support, whether agreed upon or court-ordered, will have a set amount and a duration throughout which it must be paid. Because many spouses are hesitant to provide payments to an ex-spouse after a divorce, spousal support cases can become contentious. Therefore, choosing an experienced family law attorney to represent your best interests can effectively influence the outcome of your support agreement.

Ohio’s Spousal Support Factors

Spousal support is not granted in every divorce. Every divorce is different, and every individual’s financial needs are different. To guide the courts in making sound decisions regarding spousal support, Ohio law provides 14 factors for a judge or magistrate to consider when one spouse seeks an award of spousal support. These factors are:

  1. the income of the parties from all sources, including income derived from property, awarded as part of the property division in the divorce proceeding;
  2. the relative earning abilities of the parties;
  3. the ages and the physical, mental, and emotional conditions of the parties;
  4. the retirement benefits of the parties;
  5. the duration of the marriage;
  6. the extent to which it would be inappropriate for a party, because he or she will be the custodian of a minor child or children of the marriage, to seek employment outside the home;
  7. the standard of living the parties established during their marriage;
  8. the relative extent of the parties’ education;
  9. the relative assets and liabilities of the parties, including any court-ordered payments;
  10. the contribution of each party to the education, training, or earning ability of the other party, including contribution to the acquisition of a professional degree;
  11. the time and expense necessary for the spouse who is seeking spousal support to acquire education, training, or job experience so that he or she will be qualified to obtain appropriate employment, provided the education, training, or job experience, and employment is, in fact, sought;
  12. the tax consequences for each party of a spousal support award;
  13. the lost income production capacity of either party that resulted from that party’s marital responsibilities; and
  14. any other fact the court finds to be relevant and equitable.

There is no one-size-fits-all formula for determining spousal support, which is why it is helpful to work with an experienced family law attorney who can look at the specific facts of your case and help protect your financial interests.

Can I Change My Spousal Support Order?

A spousal support order may be modified in certain situations. In order for the court to modify a spousal support award, two requirements must be met: (1) there must have been an unforeseeable change in circumstances that make the award unreasonable and inappropriate, and (2) the parties' divorce decree or separation agreement must authorize the court to modify the original spousal support award. Examples of a changed circumstance would include job loss, medical expenses, and significant changes in salary.

Get The Support You Need

If you are seeking information regarding spousal support, or if you seek to limit your exposure to paying spousal support, you must inform your counsel of all information that may impact the factors listed above. The facts and circumstances surrounding how your family is structured and your family budget will often impact the outcome.

It is best to speak with an experienced attorney to help guide you through the process and to learn about any steps you should take based on your specific needs and interests. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.

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