Spousal support in Ohio

Columbus Spousal Support Attorneys

Experienced alimony and divorce lawyers serving Central Ohio

Spousal support, often referred to as alimony, is an often litigated, and difficult to predict, area of family law. Courts are granted broad discretion in determining the amount of support and how long it should last. A skilled attorney can help ensure a fair result.

One reason having the advice of an attorney is especially crucial when determining spousal support is because your divorce attorney can provide insight what the courts typically consider, and build your case accordingly. We understand a divorce is stressful and we want to help you meet your goals and move on to a better and brighter future.

What is spousal support?

Spousal support, often called alimony, is money one spouse pays to the other after a divorce or legal separation. Simply put, spousal support is meant to help the spouse maintain the same standard of living they had during the marriage. This is especially important for individuals who can’t afford to support themselves or their children without their partner’s income.

You can file for spousal support during legal separation, divorce, or dissolution of marriage.

Spousal support is set in your divorce or separation agreement and approved by the court. If a couple can’t agree on support, the court makes the decision.

How do Columbus courts decide spousal support?

The courts determine spousal support per Ohio Code Section 3105.18. Factors they take into consideration include:

(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.

Our family law attorneys can answer any questions you might have about this.

How long does spousal support last?

A judge can order spousal support that lasts indefinitely, or a judge can order temporary support. Examples of indefinite support are those that last until the spouse receiving support remarries, cohabitates with another person, or until either spouse dies. Courts rarely award this type of support, however. If they do, they do something called “retaining jurisdiction” in the event they want to modify it in the future.

An example of temporary spousal support is alimony that ends on a certain date, like five years. This gives a spouse the time to become self-supporting.

Can I modify my Columbus spousal support order?

Either spouse can request the court modify an order if they have had a change in circumstances that makes the existing award “no longer reasonable and appropriate.” These circumstances are also outlined under Code Section 3105.18 and can include significant changes in one party’s job, wages and salary, medical expenses, or living expenses.

The attorneys at Soroka & Associates can help you with modifications of alimony and support orders.

My ex isn’t paying spousal support. What can I do?

Spousal support is a court order, and refusal to pay can result in a contempt of court charge. Enforcement of orders can result in wage garnishment, fines, and even jail time. If you believe your ex-spouse is willfully violating court-ordered support, you can talk to our attorneys to help build your case.

Does adultery affect spousal support?

It could. Although it isn’t specifically listed in the factors the court uses to determine spousal support, a judge can use “any other factor the court finds to be fair and relevant,” according to state code. This can include marital misconduct. For example, a judge would be more likely to consider awarding spousal support to a lower-earning spouse whose partner’s affair ended the marriage.

Do I have to pay taxes on spousal support in Columbus?

For spousal support agreements signed on January 1, 2019 or later:

  • Payments are non-tax-deductible for paying spouses
  • Payments do not need to be reported as income for receiving spouses

Do you have a spousal support lawyer near me?

Soroka & Associates is located at 503 South Front Street, Suite 205 in Columbus. Our offices are located near a parking deck, and a few blocks away from Rt. 23 and I-71.

Knowledgeable Columbus spousal support attorneys

Whether you are paying or receiving spousal support in your divorce, the Columbus lawyers at Soroka & Associates are here to advocate for your best interests. We can break down the process for you and stand by your side every step of the way. To set up a meeting with a member of our legal team, call 614-358-6525 or fill out our contact form today. We serve clients in Columbus and throughout Central Ohio, including in Licking County, Delaware County, Fairfield County, and beyond.