Ohio Spousal Support and Divorce Law

Ohio Spousal Support


There are certain factors that are set forth in Ohio law as to the setting of Ohio Spousal Support or what used to be called alimony.  Spousal support becomes more of an issue the longer the period of the marriage and the greater the difference of income between each spouse.

There are no statewide guidelines for Ohio Spousal Support as there are for child support.   It can vary greatly from county to county, judge to judge, and case to case.

If spousal support is a contested issue, it is best to consult a divorce attorney in your area who is familiar with the court in your county.

Temporary vs. Final Ohio Spousal Support

Temporary spousal support is support which is paid while the divorce case is pending.  It is from the time a motion is filed until the case is final.

In determining the amount of temporary spousal support, the Court will look at the income and necessary expenses of each party.  What are the necessary expenses of the person seeking the temporary spousal support?  How much is their income and how much per month do they need?  What are the necessary expenses and income of the person who will pay the temporary spousal support?  What monthly bills are there and who will pay them?

The temporary Order just gets the case to the final hearing for divorce.

Final spousal support is what is Ordered at the final hearing and paid after the final hearing. Where temporary spousal support is usually based on need, the final Order of spousal support is according to what follows.

Ohio Spousal Support Guidelines

Some judges will use formulas to calculate Ohio spousal support but these formulas have been set up only to encourage parties to settle cases.

These formulas can vary a great deal as to the length of spousal support.  Some judges have a guideline of one year of spousal support for every three years or marriage. Others have a guideline of one year of spousal support for every five years of marriage.

As an example, if the marriage is for fifteen years there would be five years of spousal support if the one for three formula is used.  It would be three years of spousal support if the one for five formula is used.

These formulas also vary as to the amount of spousal support.  Judges who give the most spousal support equalize the incomes of the parties.  A fairly common amount of spousal support is two thirds of equalization.

As an example, say spouse #1 has an income of $50,000 per year and that  spouse #2 has an income of $14,000 per year.  The difference in their incomes is $36,000.  One-half of that amount is $18,000 or $1,500 per month to equalize their incomes.  It would be $1,000 per month if there was a two thirds of equalization.

Overtime or a second job is usually not counted in figuring the income of a party.  If someone is not working but could work, the Court can “impute” income.  What would the person make if they were working? What are their skills, education and training?

Judges that give spousal support for a longer period of time tend to give lower monthly amounts of spousal support.  Judges that give spousal support for a shorter period of time tend to give higher monthly amounts.

Other Facts About Ohio Spousal Support

Spousal support is taxable income to the person receiving it.  It is a tax deduction to the person paying it.

Spousal support is terminated by the death of either party.  It usually stops when there is remarriage or cohabitation of the person receiving the spousal support.  Cohabitation means living with any adult who is not a family member.

If the Case Goes to a Contested Trial

If spousal support is disputed and the matter goes to trial, a judge will consider the circumstances of the parties and the evidence in light of the factors which are set forth in Ohio divorce law.   The factors to be considered under the statute controlling spousal support are:

  • 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;
  • Whether it would be inappropriate for the spouse who will have custody of a minor child to seek employment outside the home (as when the child is young or has special needs etc.);
  • 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;
  • The contribution of each party to the education, training, or earning ability of the other party;
  • The time and expense necessary for the spouse who is seeking spousal support to acquire education, training, or job experience;
  • 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.

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