In a divorce, several major issues must be determined and included in the couple’s divorce settlement. In all divorces, the couple’s property must be divided. If the couple has children, a child custody schedule and child support order must also be created. In some cases, generally those where one partner worked a less rigorous job or no job at all for an extended time period in order to care for the children and household, spousal support is also an issue to be considered.
Spousal support, also known as alimony, is not a one-size-fits-all type of order. A divorcing individual can seek temporary spousal support, which lasts only while the divorce is pending. He or she can also seek a longer term of spousal support, which is paid for a period of time after the divorce is finalized.
In the case of a long term marriage, “permanent spousal support” can be ordered. But this label can be misleading. The court can order that an individual receive spousal support until his or her remarriage or death, but this is usually not the case. What usually happens is the court orders one year of support for every three years the couple was married. However, a couple’s unique circumstances can result in a longer or shorter support window. If the recipient can become self-supporting after completing a degree or vocational training, for example, the court may order spousal support for the period of time he or she needs to complete this education.
In Ohio, there is generally no set formula to calculate spousal support, though some counties are more consistent than others. Spousal support orders are created according to the guidelines written into state law. The court has the discretion to weigh certain factors more heavily than others, depending on the couple’s circumstances. The factors a court will consider to determine the amount of support an individual receives, and the duration of that support include:
A spousal support order does terminate upon either party’s death or remarriage, but not necessarily upon either party’s cohabitation. If one or both parties’ circumstances change substantially after the order is put into place, either can petition to the court to reconsider and modify it.
If you are considering filing for divorce, work with an experienced divorce lawyer to learn about the divorce process in Ohio and what you can expect from it. Spousal support and other issues often vary from county to county as well. If you think you are entitled to receive spousal support, do not be afraid to seek it in your divorce. An experienced lawyer can help you seek spousal support. Contact Fout Law Office today to schedule your initial consultation in our office.