Spousal Support & Alimony Attorneys

Dayton  | West Chester

We know you may have concerns about how much money you will have to live on during and after a divorce, whether you will be able to receive spousal support or whether you might be ordered to pay spousal support. We understand these concerns, and we can address these and other questions you might have about divorce during a free consultation.

Spousal support and alimony are two different terms that mean the same thing. They are both a payment made from one spouse to the other for the purpose of helping to support that spouse during or after a divorce. Alimony is the original term for this support, but that term is considered outdated now and has been replaced with the term spousal support. It doesn’t matter what you call it, as long as you know the terms are interchangeable and you understand the basics.


What will be in a spousal support order?

There are three parts to this equation, all of which will be determined by the court. 

  1. Support will be awarded if it is needed by one party and the other has the ability to pay it.
  2. The amount of spousal support will be determined.
  3. The length of time the spousal support payments must be made.


How much spousal support should you expect to pay or receive?

There is no set calculation for determining spousal support in the state of Ohio. Support is left to the court’s discretion. While child support is based upon a set formula, there is no formula like this for determining spousal support, so the court will have to take a multitude of factors under consideration.


How is spousal support determined in Ohio?

The court will generally start by assuming that both parties contributed equally to the marriage, whether that was by working a job outside of the home, or by taking care of the house and children so that the other partner could go to work and earn the income. After that, there are many other factors that the court must weigh, including:

  • Every source of income of each spouse, including property divided in the divorce.
  • Each spouse’s earning capability based on their education, skills, job history, and employment opportunities.
  • The ages and health status of the partners.
  • The retirement benefits of the spouses.
  • The length of the marriage.
  • Whether one person will have child custody of minor children that will make them unable to work outside of the home.
  • The standard of living throughout the marriage.
  • The level of education of each spouse.
  • Both parties’ assets, debts, and any court-ordered payments.
  • If either spouse helped the other one get training, education, a professional degree, or increased income while in the marriage.
  • The duration and cost it will take for the spouse requesting support to obtain job experience, education, or training needed to obtain appropriate employment.
  • Whether one spouse may have a decreased earning capacity because they contributed to the marriage as a homemaker.
  • The effect alimony has on the spouse’s taxes. 
  • Any other elements the court may think are relevant and fair to examine.


Is the wife entitled to receive support?

Gender is not one of the factors that the court will consider when reaching their decision. No one is entitled to spousal support. It is based on the factors listed above and may be received or paid by either spouse. It is about finances, not traditional and outdated gender roles.


How soon will spousal support start?

Spousal support can start while the divorce is pending if the parties separate and one spouse needs financial help. Your divorce lawyer can file a motion requesting temporary support, and if granted, it will be paid until a permanent support order is awarded at the end of the divorce. The amount of temporary support may not be the same as the amount of permanent support. The judge will have to review the case and understand the whole financial picture of the marriage before a permanent amount can be awarded.


How long do spousal support payments last?

This will be up to the court’s discretion, but your divorce lawyer will be able to give you some generalities about how courts in the greater Dayton and West Chester, Ohio, region tend to rule. If you have been married less than five years, there may be no spousal support awarded at all. Marriages between five and 20, 25 or 30 years might end in support awards with lengths that are equivalent to roughly one-third of the length of the marriage. For example, a 15-year marriage might end with a 5-year support order…. if the judge deems support is even necessary. Long-term marriages over 25 or 30 years could even end with a lifetime spousal support award.


What happens if spousal support has been ordered but isn’t being paid?

The court has the legal authority to enforce a support order. Your divorce attorney will help you through the process, but generally speaking, a request for enforcement will initiate a contempt of court process and hearing. Either party can provide documentation at this time, proving whether or not payments have been received or made. Once the matter is in the court’s hands, what happens next will be left to their discretion, but your divorce attorney may be able to give you some potential scenarios if they are familiar with the specific magistrate.


Spousal support modifications

Any spousal support order can be modified if needed – even lifetime orders. You will need to enlist the help of your divorce attorney if you believe you need to have the order modified. Your divorce lawyer will review your circumstances and will be able to advise you if you have a good chance at a modification. At that point, they will file the appropriate motions with the court to start the modification process.


What are valid reasons for spousal support modification?

Any type of significant change in circumstances for either party can lead to a support modification. Some of the common reasons are:

  • Involuntary decrease in income
  • Increases in living expenses
  • Serious illness
  • Disability

These types of change in circumstances could happen to either party. If the spouse receiving the support becomes disabled or is diagnosed with a serious illness that might impact their ability to work, they might request a modification and ask for more support. Alternatively, if the spouse paying support becomes disabled or develops a serious illness, they may no longer have the ability to pay the full amount of the original award, or any amount at all. That party might request a reduction in the award or to be released from the order altogether.


Temporary changes in income

Unemployment is usually temporary, so typically it is not viewed as being valid grounds for seeking a modification in support. In fact, it’s rare that the court will even consider it. However, if the change in income becomes permanent due a disability or some other event, then you would have grounds to seek a modification.


Want to know more?

If you still have questions about spousal support, it’s time to speak to an expert spousal support attorney. The lawyers at Kirkland & Sommers are skilled in all areas of family and divorce law because it’s the only type of law we practice. We know you may have concerns about how much money you will have to live on during and after a divorce, whether you will be able to receive spousal support or whether you might be ordered to pay spousal support. We understand these concerns, and we can address these and other questions you might have about divorce during a free consultation. These free consultations are available at both of our locations in West Chester and Dayton, Ohio. Give us a call or click the link below to schedule your free consultation today!


Are you considering a divorce?