Spousal support may be one of the financial matters settled in your divorce. Sometimes referred to as alimony, spousal support is a lump sum or monthly payment one spouse makes to the other. The purpose is to ensure that the spouse with the lower wage during the marriage has the means to provide for themselves and maintain their previous lifestyle.
The amount of spousal support you may be ordered to pay and how long you must pay it depends on your situation. You or the court could set the provisions after considering several factors.
Is Spousal Support Required?
Spousal support isn’t something automatically ordered in a divorce. Your spouse must request it. Or you both must agree that financial assistance should be provided.
If your spouse asks the court for a spousal support order, the court will decide if it is reasonable and necessary. A judge may approve the request only if they believe that your spouse needs assistance and you have the means to pay.
How Is the Spousal Support Amount Determined?
Your spousal support amount can be determined in a couple of ways. First, you and your spouse can decide whether you believe assistance is necessary and what amount. You can present your agreement to the court for approval.
Second, the court can make an order on spousal support. A judge may do this if your spouse requests financial assistance and decide such is needed.
Ohio does not have a pre-set schedule for how much spousal support one spouse should pay the other.
Instead, the judge will consider several factors, including:
- All sources of each spouse’s income
- Each spouse’s earning abilities
- Each spouse’s age and mental, physical, and emotional health
- Each spouse’s retirement benefits
- Marriage length
- Either spouse’s inability to seek employment because they are the custodian of a minor child from the marriage
- Each spouse’s standard of living during the marriage
- Each spouse’s education
- Each spouse’s assets and debts
- Either spouse assisting the other in getting an education or training
- The time it will take for the receiving spouse to gain the skills and education to support themselves
- Either spouse’s contribution to taking care of the home
- The tax effects of spousal support on either spouse
What’s the Duration of Spousal Support?
How long you must pay spousal support will depend on your situation and whether the court orders temporary or permanent assistance.
The court may award your spouse temporary spousal support while your case is pending. It lasts only until your divorce is finalized. At the end of your case, your support obligations may terminate. However, the court might decide that your spouse still needs need assistance and may order permanent spousal support. Permanent support is not guaranteed just because temporary support was ordered.
Permanent spousal support is financial assistance you provide to your spouse even after your divorce. But just because it’s called “permanent” doesn’t mean payments are indefinite. When the court makes the final order, the judge will include how much you must pay and for how long.
Permanent spousal support payments may terminate:
- Upon your or your ex-spouse’s death
- At a specific point in time
- Upon your ex-spouse remarrying
The duration of spousal support payments may also be modified if you or your ex-spouse experience a substantial change in circumstances, such as an increase or decrease in your or your ex’s income.
Speak with a Family Law Attorney
If your spouse has requested spousal support, reach out to L. Patrick Mulligan & Associates, LLC. We can assess your situation and protect your best interests.
Schedule a consultation with one of our Dayton attorneys by calling us at (937) 685-7006 or submitting an online contact form today.