To Modify Spousal Support Change of Circumstances Defined

To Modify Spousal Support based upon receipt of inheritance.  Ex-Husband asked the Court to terminate or modify spousal support after wife received an inheritance. The Marion County Court of Common Pleas denied husband’s request to terminate because the Trial Court stated that the parties contemplated the inheritance at the time of the divorce and thus, it was not unforeseeable. The Court of Appeals affirmed the Trial Court’s decision and stated that, “A trial court will have jurisdiction to modify a prior order of spousal support only if the decree of the court expressly reserved jurisdiction to make the modification and if the court finds that a substantial change in circumstances has occurred and that the change had not been contemplated at the time of the original decree.

Inheritance and How It Can Modify Spousal Support

The court of Appeals opinion provided a very interesting and informative discussion addressing the is of an inheritance, and how that may effect spousal support a spousal support modification by referencing the ex-husband’s case cites in which Ohio courts have found that an inheritance constituted an unforeseen change of circumstances. See, e.g., Howell v. Howell, 167 Ohio App.3d 431, 2006-Ohio-3038, 855 N.E.2d 533. However, the Court of Appeals found that “the facts in Howell and the other case are very different from those in this case. For instance, in Howell, the appellant was only a contingent beneficiary of his grandfather’s trust fund at the time of the divorce. He had no rights to the trust fund until after the death of both his parents, and there was no information concerning the likelihood of their demise in the near future. We are cognizant of the fact that there certainly might be situations in which a party’s inheritance would constitute a substantial change of circumstances that was not contemplated at the time of the original decree. Every situation may have varying facts and circumstances that can affect the final determination. That is why the trial court is vested with the discretion to review and evaluate the individual merits of each case.”

To view the full case, January 10, 2011. Timberlake v. Timberlake. Marion County, Ohio. click .

Modify Spousal Support and Inheritance issue.