IN COLUMBUS, OHIO
Couples enter a marriage believing it will last for the rest of their lives. Each contributes different things to the marriage and the home, based on what they need as a couple. They build a life together, not separately.
If the marriage ends, the issue of alimony, also referred to as “spousal support,” can be complicated, contentious, and stressful. While divorce is the end of a marriage, it is also the beginning of a new chapter of your life.
If you are considering filing for divorce, have started the process, or have been served divorce papers, Heckert & Moreland Co., LPA can help you navigate spousal support. Using our experience and resources, we offer comprehensive representation in all matters of divorce and alimony. We proudly represent clients in Columbus, Ohio as well as neighboring communities throughout Central Ohio. Call us today for a consultation.
OVERVIEW OF ALIMONY IN OHIO
Alimony is a court-ordered payment one spouse pays the other during the divorce process or for a period after the divorce is final. Who pays alimony, if either spouse, depends on income and resources, not gender. According to MarketWatch, 45% of matrimonial attorneys in a 2018 survey noted an increase in women paying alimony.
There are two types of spousal support in Ohio:
Temporary support may be awarded during the divorce process and ends when the court issues a final order of support or the divorce decree. Temporary support is usually awarded to the lower income-earning spouse who is unable to financially support themselves during the divorce process.
Permanent support may be awarded for a short period of time following the court’s issuance of the divorce decree, or for a longer-term if the court deems it necessary. Permanent support is designed to provide financial support to a spouse who will need time and perhaps additional training to be able to support themselves. It might also be awarded if one spouse is disabled, elderly, or otherwise unable to work. The court will choose the ending date for permanent support or revisit the issue should circumstances change.
Support ends upon the death of the paying spouse or by court order. It also typically ends upon the remarriage or cohabitation of the receiving spouse.
WHO IS ENTITLED TO ALIMONY?
A spouse must demonstrate the need for alimony, and the other spouse must have the financial ability to pay it. Although the court may award alimony to a spouse in a brief marriage, it is more likely to be awarded in longer-term marriages.
DETERMINATION OF TYPE,
AMOUNT, AND DURATION
The court begins deliberations regarding spousal support with the assumption that both spouses contributed equally to the marriage. Perhaps that means that one earned an income outside of the home while the other stayed home and raised children. The court then considers several factors in determining alimony:
The income of the parties, from all sources, including, but not limited to, income derived from property division during divorce;
The relative earning abilities of the parties;
The ages and the physical, mental, and emotional conditions of the parties;
The retirement benefits of the parties;
The duration of the marriage;
The extent to which it would be inappropriate for a party, because that party will be the custodian of a minor child of the marriage, to seek employment outside the home;
The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage;
The relative extent of education of the parties;
The relative assets and liabilities of the parties, including but not limited to any court-ordered payments by the parties;
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;
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;
The tax consequences, for each party, of an award of spousal support;
The lost income production capacity of either party that resulted from that party's marital responsibilities;
Any other factor that the court expressly finds to be relevant and equitable.
If the requesting spouse can demonstrate to the court a significant change in circumstances, the court can elect to revisit the spousal support order. Changing circumstances would include issues such as disability or illness, income loss, or an increase in living expenses.
The divorce decree could contain a provision for the court to revisit alimony at a certain time, regardless of whether circumstances have changed.
TAX LAWS ADDRESSING ALIMONY
In divorce cases settled after January 1, 2019, the taxpayer is no longer able to deduct alimony payments from their income taxes, and the recipient is no longer required to report the spousal support as income.
IN COLUMBUS, OHIO
If you are considering divorce or are somewhere in the process, the attorneys with Heckert & Moreland Co., LPA can help. Mr. Heckert, Mr. Moreland, and Mrs. McMillin-Creter bring more than 45 years of combined experience to clients in Columbus and Central Ohio navigating spousal support issues during divorce. Call our office today to schedule a consultation. Your future might depend on having the right answers about alimony.