In Ohio, alimony is called spousal support. The court may award spousal support to either party. This support is different than the splitting of marital property (Which this author will address in a separate guide). In fashoning spousal support the court can award it as a lump sum a monthly payment or any other way the parties can agree.
Generally, the court will not entertain the idea of spousal support to a couple married less than 5 years. Also in general, the court will only award support for a limmited period of time, usually no longer than 1/3 of the duration of the marriage. Nevertheless, the court must consider a number of factors, per R.C. 3105.18 which states, in material part: (C)(1) In determining whether spousal support is appropriate and reasonable, and in determining the nature, amount, and terms of payment, and duration of spousal support, which is payable either in gross or in installments, the court shall consider all of the following factors: (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 not limited to any court-ordered payments by 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, and employment 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. (2) In determining whether spousal support is reasonable and in determining the amount and terms of payment of spousal support, each party shall be considered to have contributed equally to the production of marital income.
As attorneys in a divorce conduct discovery, they analyze a couple's assets and income to determine if a court is likely to make such an award and to accordingly propose offers to opposing counsel.
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