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How is spousal support determined?

If you are a resident of Ohio going through a divorce, you might be wondering whether spousal support is an option. While it may have been associated in the past with financial support given to a woman, spousal support can be awarded to either party in the proceedings as long as certain criteria is met.

According to Ohio’s Legislative Codes, there are 14 factors that are considered when determining whether monetary support should be paid from one spouse to the other. The length of marriage is one major consideration. For instance, support is less likely to be awarded in a marriage of only a few years than it would be for a union that has spanned decades.

Income is another crucial factor. If one spouse has a much higher earning power than the other, it may be necessary to pay alimony in order for both parties to maintain the standard of living that had been established while married. If one person has lost the ability to provide income due to the role he or she took on during the marriage, that would also be taken into account. This could include a situation where one spouse left a job or placed his or her education on hold to become a caretaker or to maintain the household.

Other factors include the ages as well as physical, emotional and mental conditions of each party. Retirement benefits, assets, liabilities and tax consequences also are factors.

Spousal support can be awarded as a short-term agreement in order to assist with one party’s transition into single living or can be a permanent source of support. The amount paid can also be revisited and modified if one or both party’s financial situation changes substantially. This could include involuntary loss of income, medical bills or other circumstances that no longer make the original agreement appropriate. If the recipient remarries and it results in an increase in his or her economic situation, this, too, can result in modification or termination of the original spousal support agreement.

This post is meant to be used as an educational resource and should not be used in place of professional legal counsel.