Wallin & Klarich Family Law Attorney, Yvette Ochoa, Assisted Client to Reach an Agreement with Former Spouse Relating to a Favorable Spousal and Child Support Award

Spousal Support

Spousal Support (Alimony)

Of all the issues associated with ending a marriage, spousal support can be the most challenging. This is because the amount and length of spousal support is primarily within the discretion of the judge assigned to the case. While there are general guidelines by statute in Ohio, the best predictor of the range of possibilities for spousal support orders is an attorney experienced in representing the interests of clients facing spousal support issues before Ohio courts.

Just because the court has a statutory formula to calculate child support does not mean that such a formula exists for calculating spousal support. Although our state’s legislature has been considering the implementation of a spousal support formula (to ensure greater consistency and predictability in spousal support awards), no such formula has yet been enacted and it is indeed error on the part of a court to implement a formulaic approach. Instead, the courts have wide discretion to determine the amount and duration of spousal support awards on a case by case basis, after taking into consideration the statutory factors currently in place. Those statutory factors include: the relative earning abilities of the parties; the ages and health of the parties; the retirement benefits of the parties; the duration of the marriage; whether either party should stay home to care for minor children; the standard of living established during the marriage; the assets and liabilities of each party; the contribution of either party to the education, training or earning ability of the other spouse; the time or expense necessary for a spouse to obtain appropriate education or training; the tax consequences of a support award; the lost income capacity of a spouse resulting from marital responsibilities; and any other factor the court finds relevant.

Spousal support may be temporary, short-term or long-term depending on a number of statutory factors which the Court must consider. Spousal support may be granted, for a few years, to aid someone in “getting back on their feet” or getting the education it takes to be self supporting. Spousal support may also be granted, in the proper case, on a permanent basis — lasting until the recipient dies, remarries or co-habitates. Sometimes the amount or length of spousal support obligations is permanent and sometimes the court reserves jurisdiction to reconsider and amend the support amount.

Some statutory factors reviewed when the court considers whether spousal support is appropriate are:
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 limited to any court-ordered payments be 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
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 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.
There are tax consequences to both the person who pays, and the person who receives spousal support, which must be considered specifically when dealing with this issue.

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Wallin & Klarich Family Law Attorney, Yvette Ochoa, Assisted Client to Reach an Agreement with Former Spouse Relating to a Favorable Spousal and Child Support Award