Ohio Alimony Laws

Alimony, called "spousal support" in Ohio and in many other states, refers to payments made by one spouse to another during and/or after a divorce. Since married couples comingle their assets and expenses, alimony is meant to help each party maintain a relatively equitable standard of living after they've split up. For instance, one spouse may have put aside their career ambitions in order to raise children; but after a divorce, that spouse will still need income in order to survive and maintain a reasonable standard of living.

Alimony in Ohio is determined by the court and is based on a number of factors, including each party's earning potential and the duration of the marriage. While spousal support may be modified as conditions change, a provision allowing such modification must be expressly included in the divorce decree. In any event, the court will ask for certain documents in order to verify income, expenses, and other factors used to determine such orders.

Ohio Alimony Laws at a Glance

The court ultimately will determine how much alimony, if any, must be paid to a former spouse following a divorce or separation. While attorneys are trained to fully understand state laws, the following "plain English" summary is meant to help you gain a basic understanding of Ohio's alimony laws.

Statute

Ohio Revised Code: Section 3105.18

Statutory Definition of "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, that is both for sustenance and for support of the spouse or former spouse.

Factors Considered When Determining Spousal Support

The court considers the following factors when determining whether alimony (spousal support) is necessary, as well as the amount, terms, and duration of such support:

  • Income of both parties;
  • Relative earning capabilities of both parties;
  • Ages and physical/mental/emotional conditions of both parties;
  • Retirement benefits of both parties;
  • Duration of the marriage;
  • Whether it would be appropriate to expect a party who is the primary caretaker of any minor children to seek outside employment;
  • Standard of living established during the marriage;
  • Relative education level of both parties;
  • Relative assets/liabilities of both parties;
  • Contribution of each party to the education, training, or earning ability of the other party;
  • Time and expense necessary for the party seeking alimony to acquire education, training, or job experience needed to obtain appopriate employment;
  • Tax consequences (for each party) of an award for support;
  • Lost income potential of either party resulting from that party's marital responsibilities; and
  • Any other factor found by the court to be relevant and equitable.

Modification of a Spousal Support Order

The court may modify an order to pay spousal support only if the following conditions exist:

  1. A change in circumstances for either party, such as an involuntary increase or decrease in wages, other income, living or medical expenses; and
  2. The divorce decree specifically includes a provision allowing the order to be modified.

Duration of Spousal Support

  • The duration of permanent spousal support orders depends on what the court finds reasonable.
  • The duration of temporary spousal support orders corresponds with the time it takes to complete the divorce (and ends when the court makes its final divorce decree).

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Research the Law

Ohio Alimony Laws: Related Resources

Get Professional Legal Help With Your Ohio Alimony Concerns

Whether you're in need of spousal support after a divorce or expect to pay support to your ex, it's important to understand how the law applies to your particular case. If you have additional questions or need legal representation, consider getting in touch with an experienced Ohio divorce attorney near you can get you the answers and solutions you need.

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