How does spousal support work in Ohio?

| Jul 7, 2020 | Divorce |

Ohio courts may award spousal support to either partner in a divorce. State law recognizes temporary spousal support, awarded during the divorce, and permanent spousal support, which persists once the divorce is final. 

If you have concerns about supporting yourself during or after divorce, learn more about the spousal support process in Ohio. 

Factors in spousal support calculation 

While the state does not have specific guidelines for temporary spousal support, Ohio judges must consider these 14 factors to award permanent spousal support: 

  • Each spouse’s ability to earn a living and support oneself as an independent household 
  • Each spouse’s income, including income from property received in the divorce 
  • Each spouse’s retirement savings and pensions 
  • Each spouse’s physical and mental health status and ability to work 
  • Each person’s age 
  • The length of the marriage 
  • The standard of living the couple enjoyed while married 
  • Whether the couple has minor children and which parent will primarily care for them 
  • Whether either party lost income to fulfill responsibilities of the marriage (ending one’s career to provide child care, for example) 
  • Whether spousal support will impact either party’s tax liabilities 
  • The education status of each spouse  
  • Whether the spouse requesting support can become self-supporting with additional education or training 
  • How each spouse contributed to the other’s education and career 
  • Each party’s existing property and debts 

Based on these considerations, the judge may award a monthly payment amount or lump sum at his or her discretion. Ohio law does not mandate a percentage or calculation for spousal support. 

Length of spousal support 

Permanent spousal support rarely lasts forever. Either spouse can request a modification if circumstances change. Examples include retirement, cohabitation, remarriage, death or change in financial situation. Usually, the judge will include a target end date in the spousal support order. 

In general, the longer the marriage, the longer the spousal support order. The judge may allow for permanent support if the receiving spouse cannot become self-supporting because of age, disability or illness.