Alimony FAQ

Alimony is generally referred to as money paid by one party to an ex-spouse at the termination of a marriage, for the purpose of assisting the spouse seeking the alimony in supporting him/herself until becoming self-supporting, when possible. Ohio also permits the payment of spousal support to a third party for the receiving party’s benefit.

In Ohio, alimony may include real or personal property, as well as monetary payments. Payment may be in the form of either installments or in gross. The court determines the fairness of the award, and this compensation can be paid from future earnings or otherwise. Temporary spousal support may be awarded while the divorce is pending.

For the purposes of determining whether an award of alimony is reasonable, and under what terms, both spouses will be considered to have equally contributed to the production of marital income. Specified changes in circumstances permit the parties to seek a modification in an alimony order. These circumstances include a substantial involuntary decrease or a significant increase in the income of either party’s earnings, bonuses, medical expenses, and living expenses. In addition, the change must make such an impact on the award that it would no longer be reasonable and appropriate. This holds true as long as the change in circumstances was not already considered by the court when making its determination, even if the change was foreseeable.

Alimony, as it pertains specifically to Ohio Divorce Law in the court of common pleas, reviews the following factors for an alimony judgment:

  • All income sources for both spouses;
  • Comparison of both spouses’ earning abilities;
  • The spouses’ ages and emotional, mental and physical conditions;
  • The spouses’ retirement benefits;
  • Marriage duration;
  • When one spouse will be the custodian of a minor child of the couple, the impact this will have on the custodial spouse’s ability to work outside the home;
  • Marriage standard of living;
  • Comparison of the spouses’ education;
  • Comparison of the spouses’ liabilities and assets;
  • Whether one spouse made contributions to the other spouse’s earning capacity, training and education, including any contribution to the other spouse attaining a professional degree;
  • The expense and amount of time that must be expended for the spouse seeking alimony to receive the job experience, training and education necessary to qualify for gainful employment, on the condition that this job experience, education and training will actually be sought;
  • The possible tax consequences of the alimony being sought;
  • The adverse impact on the capacity to produce income resulting from a spouse’s marital responsibilities; and
  • Other factors found to be equitable and relevant, at the court’s discretion.

Normally, he paying spouse will no longer be obligated to pay a spousal support order when the receiving spouse dies. However, in rare situations, the court order may stipulate otherwise.