If you are going through a divorce or separation in Ohio, you may be concerned about how you will support yourself financially after the split. One option that may be available to you is spousal support, also known as alimony.
Can I receive – or must I pay – spousal support?
It is important to note that spousal support is not automatically awarded in a divorce. A party to a divorce must specifically request spousal support, and then the court will determine whether it is appropriate and reasonable. If the answer is yes, the court will need to determine the nature, amount, terms of payment, and duration of spousal support.
To determine the amount of spousal support to award, the court will consider various factors, including the relative earning ability of each party, the standard of living during the marriage, the education level of each spouse, and assets. In Ohio, there are 14 factors* that the court considers when making this determination. Ultimately, it’s up to the court’s discretion whether support, and how much, will be awarded.
Is spousal support modifiable?
Spousal support can generally be modified in certain situations. Specifically, spousal support is modifiable when there is a substantial change in circumstances that makes the existing award no longer reasonable and appropriate.
The change in circumstances cannot be one that was taken into account by the parties or the court as a basis for the existing award, regardless of whether the change in circumstance was foreseeable.
A change in the circumstances of a party includes – but is not limited to – any increase or involuntary decrease in:
- the party’s wages, salary, or bonuses;
- living expenses;
- medical expenses;
- or other substantial change in circumstances
What should I do next?
If you or someone you know requires assistance requesting spousal support from the court, determining the amount of spousal support you may receive or be liable for, or attempting to modify a spousal support order, the qualified attorneys at Atkins & Atkins are available to help.
Our attorneys are knowledgeable, compassionate, and dedicated to achieving the best possible outcome for our clients. If you are going through a divorce or separation and have questions about spousal support or any other family law matter in Ohio, please contact us for a consultation. We will listen to your concerns, answer your questions, and provide you with a personalized strategy to meet your needs.
*The full list of factors a court will consider when awarding spousal support are (a) the income of the parties, from all sources, including, but not limited to, income derived from property divided, disbursed, or distributed under section 3105.171 of the Ohio Revised Code; (b) the relative earning abilities of the parties; (c) the ages and the physical, mental, and emotional conditions of the parties; (d) the retirement benefits of the parties; (e) the duration of the marriage; (f) 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; (g) the standard of living of the parties established during the marriage; (h) the relative extent of education of the parties; (i) the relative assets and liabilities of the parties, including but not limited to any court-ordered payments by the parties; (j) the contribution of each party to the education, training, or earning ability of the other party, including, but not limited to, any party’s contribution to the acquisition of a professional degree of the other party; (k) the time and expense necessary for the spouse who is seeking spousal support to acquire education, training, or job experience so that the spouse will be qualified to obtain appropriate employment, provided the education, training, or job experience, and employment is, in fact, sought; (l) the tax consequences, for each party, of an award of spousal support; (m) the lost income production capacity of either party that resulted from that party’s marital responsibilities; (n) any other factor that the court expressly finds to be relevant and equitable.