Category Archives: Alimony

Determining Spousal Support – How Much and How Long

This case involves a Fairfield County Spousal Support Award.  Husband (then age 53) and Wife (then age 42) get married in 1993. It is the 2nd marriage for Husband and 3rd marriage for Wife.  At the time of marriage, husband has been a teacher for 29 years.  There are no minor children of marriage.  Husband retires in 2004 and files for divorce in 2007, and at the time of the divorce Husband is receiving a pension in the net amount of $ 3,187.36.  In determining spousal support, the Fairfield County Trial Court Ordered Husband to pay spousal support (alimony) to Wife in the amount of $ 1,250. per month, indefinitely ( which was defined as, termination only upon death, remarriage or cohabitation with unrelated adult male).  The Trial Court also Orders Husband to pay Wife credit card that she used after the divorce was filed.  The Fifth District Court of Appeals upheld that decision.

What a Court Must Consider When Determining Spousal Support “How Much” and “How Long”

When determining spousal support, pursuant to R.C. 3105.18(B), a trial court may award reasonable spousal support to either party upon request and after the court determines the division or disbursement of property under R.C. 3105.171. Fairfield County, Case No. 2010 CA 25 17.  In determining spousal support and whether it is appropriate and reasonable, and in determining the nature, amount, terms of payment, and duration of spousal support, R.C. 3105.18(C)(1) directs the trial court to consider all 14 factors set forth therein:

“(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 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; Fairfield County, Case No. 2010 CA 25 18
“(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.”

In addition, R.C. 3105.18(C)(2) states that in determining spousal support and whether it is reasonable and in determining the amount and terms of payment of spousal support, each party shall be considered to have contributed equally to the production of marital income.  Trial courts must consider all of the factors listed in R.C. 3105.18(C) when determining spousal support.

See the full case at, http://www.fifthdist.org/dec272010/Howcroft.pdf.

Determining Spousal Support.  16 year marriage out of Fairfield County, Ohio.

Spousal Support Modification

When a Court deals with the issue of spousal support modification, the Court must first make the determination as to whether the spousal support obligation is “modifiable” or “non-modifiable”.  The issue between these two choices is extremely critical for both the person paying spousal support, as well as the person receiving spousal support.  For the person paying spousal support, a spousal support order that is “non-modifiable” means that under no circumstances what so ever can a Court change the amount or length or “term” of the original spousal support Order.  If the spousal support is “modifiable” then that means that the Court has the legal authority, discretion and ability to change or modify the previously Ordered spousal support as to the amount being paid, and or the term for which the spousal support  was originally Ordered to be paid.

Spousal Support Modification:  What do you need to prove

However, in situations where the Court has the legal authority, discretion and ability to change the previously Ordered spousal support amount and term, to actually modify or change a spousal support Order, the party requesting the change must first be able to satisfy several legal requirements.  The first requirement involves proving that the Court has “continuing jurisdiction” to modify the spousal support.  This requires that the Original Divorce Decree contain specific language wherein the Court states it shall retain continuing jurisdiction for a spousal support modification.  The second requirement requires that the party requesting the change must then prove with admissible evidence, at a formal hearing, that there has been a substantial change in circumstances which were not anticipated at the time of the Divorce.  The third requirement requires that the party requesting the change must then prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the existing spousal support Order is no longer appropriate and reasonable.  Decided November 4, 2010 in Burkart v. Burkart, 191 Ohio App.3d 169.  For the full case see, http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/rod/docs/pdf/1/2012/2012-ohio-1825.pdf.

Spousal Support Modification