There was a time when divorce meant one spouse paid alimony to the other. In those days, the usual equation had the husband paying that money to his ex-wife. This was in addition to child support. Today, that equation isn’t necessarily the one that applies. Indeed, most states don’t even call it alimony. Instead, it’s called spousal support.
Every state has its own rules regarding how to handle this financial matter. Ohio is no different, though many might argue that it is less structured than in some other states. In fact, as the Ohio Bar Association points out, each case is determined on its own merits, and while state law requires courts to consider 14 separate factors when deciding monthly support, the formula for reaching the final figure can vary court to court. Obviously, a desired outcome depends on how strong a case can be presented in the context of the factors.
It’s also useful to be aware that two types of spousal support are available. It can be granted on a temporary basis, usually ordered for a set period during the time after separation but before any dissolution of the marriage is final. If permanent spousal support is awarded, it may be truly permanent in nature, or restricted. For example, it might also end after a set time or if the spouse remarries or dies.
Despite the factors listed in statute, experienced family law practitioners generally agree that two tend to carry more weight with the courts than the others. These are the length of the marriage and the income of both parties.
If each party is gainfully employed and the marriage lasted only a few years, there might be no support ordered. If one party’s earning capacity suffered because of the marital commitment, that might lead to at least temporary support.
As you can see, determinations of spousal support derive from each case’s unique circumstances. Because of the sensitive nature of the divorce process, looking out for your interests yourself can become clouded by emotion. Consulting an attorney is a way to be sure you protect your right to meet your needs and move on with your life.