Spousal Support/Modification Of Spousal Support
“Spousal Support (alimony) 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, that is both for sustenance and for support of the spouse or former spouse. [It] does not include any payment made to a spouse or former spouse, or to a third party for the benefit of a spouse or former spouse that is made as part of a division or distribution of property or a distributive award” – ORC 3105.18 (A). Each party in a divorce is considered to have contributed equally to the production of marital income.
Under Ohio law the courts may consider the following factors in making decisions about alimony awards:
- The income of the parties from all sources, including, but not limited to, income gained from property divided, disbursed or distributed
- The relative earning abilities of the parties
- The ages and physical, mental and emotional conditions of the parties
- The retirement benefits of the parties
- The duration of the marriage
- The extent to which it is appropriate for the custodian of a minor child to remain in the home and not seek outside employment
- The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage
- The relative extent of education of the parties
- The relative assets and liabilities of the parties, including, but not limited to, any court-ordered payments by the parties
- The contribution of each party to the education, training or earning ability of the other party
- 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 and employment is, in fact, sought
- The tax consequences for each party
- The lost ability to earn income by either party because of that party’s marital responsibilities
- Any other factor that the court expressly finds to be relevant and equitable
Modification Of Spousal Support
- In order for the court to be able to change/modify spousal support, the decree of divorce, dissolution or separation agreement must contain a specific written provision giving the court the authority to modify the amount or terms of spousal support [O.R.C. 3105.18(E)].
- To modify spousal support, the court must first find a change of circumstances that includes, but is not limited to, any increase or voluntary decrease in either party’s wages, salary, bonuses, living expenses or medical expenses. [O.R.C. 3105.18(F)].