Spousal Support (Alimony) – How Does the Court Decide

Of all the issues associated with divorce, spousal support can be one of the most contentious and difficult to predict.  This is because the amount  and length of spousal support is primarily within the discretion of the judge.  In addition, the range of what one could expect changes depending on the facts of a case.  As alluded to above, how a particular judge or county has historically dealt with this issue can vary significantly.  While there are general guidelines by statute in Ohio, the best predictor of the range for spousal support is an attorney experienced in representing the interests of clients facing these issues before Ohio courts.  

What is Spousal Support?

“Spousal support” means any payment or payments to be made to a spouse or former spouse, or to a third party for the benefit of a spouse or a former spouse, both for sustenance and support of the spouse or former spouse. “Spousal support” does not include any payment that is made as part of a division or distribution of property or a distributive award.

How to Calculate Spousal Support?

It is important to know that although Ohio courts have a statutory formula to calculate child support, no formula or “guideline” exists for spousal support.  Although our state’s legislature has been considering the implementation of a formula , no such formula has yet been enacted.  Further, Ohio Appeals Courts have reversed trial courts who have tried to implement a standard formula or guideline approach.  Ohio courts have wide discretion to determine the amount and duration of support awards for a spouse on a case by case basis, after taking into consideration the statutory factors currently in place.

While the amount does not have a standard, there are aspects of spousal support that statute has limited.  Spousal support may be temporary, short-term, long-term, or permanent, depending on a number of statutory factors which the Court must consider.  It may be granted to help a spouse “get back on their feet” or get the education to be self-supporting.  If the court grants spousal support on a permanent basis, it will last until the recipient dies or remarries.

What Factors Does the Court Consider?

The court does consider several factors as required by statute when calculating spousal support.  There are a number of factors that may be considered, but some of the more common are:

  • Income of the parties from all sources, including but not limited to, income derived from property divided, disbursed, or distributed;
  • Relative earning abilities of the parties;
  • Ages and the physical, mental, and emotional conditions of the parties;
  • Retirement benefits of the parties;
  • Duration of the marriage;
  • Standard of living of the parties established during the marriage; and
  • Relative assets and liabilities of the parties including but limited to any court-ordered payments by the parties.

Contact Us

At the Law Office of Anthony W. Greco, we provide each and every Client with professional, aggressive, and practical representation.  We focus on these overarching principles while remaining sensitive to each Client’s unique spousal support concerns and goals.  From the most intense cases that require an aggressive approach involving investigation and intense litigation,  to the more amicable conclusions to a marriage, our attorneys are here for you.  With over 25 years of experience, we will fight for your rights regarding spousal support from the first day of representation through trial.  Click Here to contact us and see what sets us apart from other firms.

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