Spousal Support

In Ohio, what used to be known as alimony is now called spousal support. Spousal support is paid from one spouse to another and may be paid during or after the divorce. Spousal support is based upon the income and resources of each party.

How is spousal support determined?

Spousal support is determined by fourteen factors set forth in Ohio law. These include:

  • the relative earning abilities of the parties
  • the ages and physical, mental and emotional conditions 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 seeking spousal support to acquire sufficient education, training, or job experience to support him- or herself
  • the standard of living of the parties established during the marriage

In addition to the statutory factors, the court may consider any information it deems relevant in determining the amount and duration of spousal support.

How long does spousal support last?

Spousal support can be set to continue:

  • for a specific period of time
  • until the occurrence of a certain event (like the receiving spouse’s remarriage)
  • for an indefinite period.

The purpose of spousal support is generally to give the receiving party the opportunity to be self-supporting, so courts usually prefer for spousal support to end after a specified time.

The divorce decree may say that a spousal support award is modifiable, meaning it can be changed later on. In that case, the court is granted authority (jurisdiction) to hear a request (motion) for modification, which can be granted only if a material change in either party’s circumstances justifies the change. If the divorce decree does not specifically grant the court jurisdiction to modify a spousal support award, the award is non-modifiable.

Unlike child support, spousal support is not automatically ordered. Whether it is awarded, how much is to be paid, and how long it lasts, are in the court’s discretion. Therefore, it is essential to have an experienced attorney to make one’s case on these issues. Failing to secure the right legal help can mean shutting the door forever on the possibility of spousal support.

Ruby & Associates regularly handles spousal support issues during and after divorce cases, including motions to modify spousal support. To learn more about how we can help you with your spousal support matter, contact our office at (330) 867-1405.