Spousal Support (Alimony)

Spouses who divorce in Ohio may be entitled to spousal support, also referred to as alimony, from the other spouse, but the calculation of spousal support in Ohio is complex because there is no set guideline for these calculations, rather there is a lengthy set of factors that the Domestic Relations Court must consider in making these awards. This is why is it important to engage competent, experienced legal counsel as early as possible in your case. The Allen Law Firm has been representing clients in spousal support matters since for over 20 years.

Ohio law imposes a duty of support on spouses to support one another during the marriage. This duty of support ends when the marriage ends, but the Domestic Relations Court is empowered to continue the support obligations one spouse may owe to the other into the future. In Ohio, this is done through the mechanism of spousal support.

According to Ohio law, in determining whether spousal support is appropriate and the amount, duration, and terms of payment, the Domestic Relations Court shall consider the following factors:

  • The income of the parties, from all sources;
  • The relative earning abilities of the parties;
  • The ages and the physical, mental, and emotional conditions of the parties;
  • The retirement benefits of the parties;
  • The duration of the marriage;
  • The extent to which it would be inappropriate for a party, because that party will be custodian of a minor child of the marriage, to seek employment outside the home;
  • The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage;
  • The relative extent of education of the parties;
  • The relative assets and liabilities of the parties, including but not limited to any court-ordered payments by the parties;
  • The contribution of each party to the education, training, or earning ability of the other party;
  • The time and expense necessary for the spouse seeking support to acquire education, training, or job experience so that the spouse will be qualified to obtain appropriate employment;
  • The tax consequences, for each party, of an award of spousal support;
  • The lost income production capacity of either party that resulted from that party’s marital responsibilities;
  • Any other factor that the court expressly finds to be relevant and equitable.

Spousal support is usually not appropriate where the marriage is of short duration, or the parties are both employed at similar incomes. However, if the spouse seeking support has become disabled or ill or there are other other extenuating circumstances, spousal support might be appropriate even in such cases.

In general, the court will award support where:

  • the marriage has lasted many years;
  • one of the spouses has serious health problems or a disability;
  • there is a great difference in the incomes or financial resources of the two spouses;
  • one of the spouses had to stay home during the marriage in order to care for the children while the other spouse worked full-time to support the family; or
  • one of the spouses worked to help put the other spouse through college, law school, medical school, etc.

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