First of all, while the term “alimony” still exists in taxation and bankruptcy law, it has been supplanted by the term “spousal support” generally for Ohio law purposes. This is a little complicated, because for many people the two terms mean the same thing or almost the same thing. For family law purposes, the question of whether spousal support can be expected to be ordered in a particular case is a multifaceted one. A number of considerations apply under Ohio’s current laws, and there is no specific formula. Ohio does have a specific formula for calculating child support, and there have been efforts mounted on several occasions by folks who would like to see our legislature adopt a formula for spousal support – but that has yet to occur.
For now, the Court typically will consider a number of different factors, such as the parties’ respective income from all sources, retirement programs, education and ability of the parties, length of the marriage, age of the parties, physical condition of the parties, mental condition of the parties, the extent to which one party may need to stay at home with a child, the parties’ assets and liabilities, the standard of living, lost income production capacity that may have resulted from a party’s marital responsibilities, tax consequences, contributions one party may have made to the education of the other party, the cost of a spouse receiving education or training to be able to obtain appropriate employment, and other factors that the Court considers appropriate.
After reading the above list, you have probably already concluded this: every case is different. Just because Aunt Myrtle received spousal support of a certain amount of money, does not mean that you will, and just because Uncle Bill had to pay spousal support of a certain amount does not mean you will. Questions about spousal support are often quite involved, and this is an area where it usually makes good sense to confer at an early stage with legal counsel.