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Can I Get Alimony?

Posted by attorney Todd Kotler

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.

Additional resources provided by the author


The Divorce Handbook, by James Friedman (particular attention should be paid to checklists, worksheets and pages 113-121 on being a witness).

Mom's House, Dad's House, by Dr. Isolina Ricci on Shared Parenting.
Getting to Yes, by Roger Fisher and William Ury (The original, often quoted, resource on alternative dispute resolution).

Getting Past No, By William Ury (The companion resource to Getting to Yes).

Merging Families: A Step-By-Step Guide for Blended Families by Bobbie Reed

Summit County Child Support Enforcement Agency
P.O. Box 80598, 175 S. Main Street
Akron, Ohio 44308-0598
(330) 643-2765

Battered Women's Shelter Help-line:
(330) 371-1111

Victims Assistance Program
(330) 376-0400

Summit County Children Services
264 S. Arlington St.
Akron, Ohio 44306
(330) 379-1880 (general information)

Stark County
116 Cleveland Ave. N.
Canton, Ohio 44702

Stark County JFS Social Services
300 Market Ave. N.
Canton, Ohio 44702

This guide and this author's other guides, are written with appreciation for the attorneys for whom I clerked or later faced as opposing counsel. I have borrowed liberally from their forms, letters and pleading styles. All the credit for insight and sagacity belongs to them, any fault belongs to me.

It is with appreciation that I thank; Sharon Berg, Charles Grisi, Susan Lax, Hon. Mary Rowlands, Hon. Thomas A. Teodosio, Barry Ward, Dean Wagner, and Bill Whitaker.

Attorney, Todd Kotler may be contacted either at 330-777-0065 or by e-mail at

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