Alimony (also called "spousal support" in Ohio) is a regular payment
one spouse makes to the other spouse to provide financial support during
and/or after a divorce. Spouses may agree to the amount and duration of
spousal support, or the court may order it if the spouses can’t agree.
In Ohio, courts can order temporary spousal support, which is spousal
support paid after the divorce action is filed, but before there is a
final divorce decree. The court can also award “permanent” spousal
support, which is ordered at the time the final divorce decree is
CALCULATING SPOUSAL SUPPORT
Ohio, there are no set guideline calculations for courts to follow when
deciding whether to order alimony or when determining the type, amount,
manner, and duration of payments. The law requires that courts assume
each spouse contributed equally to the marital income, for example,
either by working outside of the home or by taking care of the home
and/or children so that the other spouse could earn income. In addition,
the law requires that courts consider the following factors:
- all sources of the spouses’ incomes, including from property divided in the divorce
spouse's earning ability (how much a person could earn based on
education, skills, job history, and employment opportunities)
- the spouses' ages and health (physical, mental, and emotional)
- the spouses' retirement benefits
- the length of the marriage
- whether one spouse has custody of a minor child of the marriage and will be unable to work outside of the home as a result
- the standard of living during the marriage
- each spouse's education
- each spouse's assets and debts, including any payments the court ordered
either spouse helped the other to get training, education, a
professional degree, or increased income during the marriage
time and expense it will take for the spouse asking for support to
receive education, training or job experience that will allow that
spouse to obtain sufficient employment, if the spouse in fact seeks that
education, training, experience, and employment
- whether a spouse contributed to the marriage as a homemaker and has a decreased earning ability as a result
- how alimony will affect each spouse’s taxes, and
- any other factor the court finds to be relevant and fair to consider.
PAYMENT OF SPOUSAL SUPPORT
considering the factors above, if the court decides that a spousal
support order is appropriate, the court may order that the payments be
made in the form of real or personal property, or by paying an amount of
money. The court can order that payments are made in one lump sum, or
in installments over a period of time.
DURATION OF SPOUSAL SUPPORT
spousal support orders last only while the divorce action is pending.
These orders end when the court makes the final divorce decree.
spousal support orders may be short term or long term, depending on
what the court finds is reasonable after weighing the factors.
types of spousal support orders terminate automatically if either party
dies, unless the order specifically states otherwise.
MODIFICATION OF SPOUSAL SUPPORT
After a spousal support order is made, the court can only modify the order if both of the following conditions exist:
been a change of circumstances for either spouse, such as an
involuntary increase or decrease in wages, salary, bonuses, living
expenses, or medical expenses, and
- there is a provision in the divorce decree that specifically states that the order can be modified.
TAXES ON SPOUSAL SUPPORT
general, the spouse paying support can deduct the payments from income.
For the spouse receiving support, the payments count as income and are