Ohio Spousal Support Calculator: How much spousal support will I get?

alimony/spousal support certified divorce financial analyst mediation
Negotiating alimony when there is no calculator in Ohio

If your spouse is the primary earner, you're likely feeling a great deal of concern about how you will manage financially after your divorce. Questions may be swirling in your mind: Can you afford to stay in the house? Will you be able to cover all of your living expenses on your own? Perhaps you're even contemplating the need to find another job to make ends meet.

Alimony, or spousal support, is a topic that frequently arises during divorce proceedings. It's one of the most common questions I encounter: Is there alimony in Ohio? And if so, am I eligible to receive it? If granted, how much spousal support can I expect? And perhaps most importantly, how long will I receive it for?

The issue of spousal support is not only a legal matter but also an emotionally charged one. For those who are dependent on alimony, it often represents their lifeline to maintaining their current standard of living. On the other hand, relying on financial support from your ex-spouse after the divorce is finalized may not be an ideal situation.

If you happen to be the primary earner in your marriage, you may find yourself wondering if you will be required to pay spousal support. And if so, how much will you be expected to contribute and for how long? It would be convenient if the state provided a simple calculation (similar to child support) to determine spousal support in Ohio, but unfortunately, that is not the case. The absence of a formula means that the determination of spousal support becomes a gray area, subject to negotiation and deliberation in each individual case.

Navigating the complexities of financial arrangements in divorce can be overwhelming, but rest assured that there are legal professionals who specialize in this area and can guide you through the process.

First off, what is spousal support (or alimony)?

Spousal support is financial support paid from one spouse to the other. It's also called spousal maintenance or alimony. We use the words interchangeably in this post. (Note: There are some states in which these words are not interchangeable. For example, in Pennsylvania, spousal support refers to temporary spousal support while the divorce is in process. Alimony refers to the financial support paid from one spouse to the other after the divorce is final.)

Either the husband or the wife can be ordered to pay it, but it's not always included in the divorce settlement. In fact, in some states, it's very uncommon. As with other divorce laws, the way that spousal support is determined varies from state to state and even varies by local jurisdiction. 


Divorce Alimony Rules in Ohio

The factors contributing to the determining spousal support in Ohio are as follows: 

  • income of the parties
  • relative earnings power of the parties
  • age and emotional/physical/mental health
  • retirement benefits of the parties
  • how long the parties were married
  • ability to work outside the home when child care is necessary
  • the standard of living established during the marriage
  • educational attainment of each of the parties
  • overall, financial picture (assets/liabilities)
  • the contribution of each party toward the other's education and/or professional achievements
  • time and expense for the party seeking spousal support to acquire necessary skills/education to be employable
  • tax impact of spousal support
  • lost income production capacity of either party due to party's marital responsibilities
  • any other fact that the court expressly finds to be relevant and equitable

You can see that there are a lot of factors involved in awarding an amount. Your divorce financial analyst can help you to determine what would be a reasonable request.

Common Questions About Alimony in Ohio

Q: How long does spousal support last in Ohio?

Again, it depends. According to the divorce alimony rules in Ohio, all of the factors listed above are considered when determining how long one will receive support. It is best to consult with an attorney regarding what they see in your local court. Spousal support can be paid in one lump sum or over time. It can even be permanent in some areas. These laws do change, though, so again, I recommend speaking to your local family law attorney.

Q: Can spousal support change after it's awarded?

According to the divorce alimony rules in Ohio, the short answer is maybe. The ability to modify spousal support is negotiated just like the amount and duration. In many cases, spousal support is modifiable if there is a change in circumstances. If you want to have it modified, you'll have to file with the court.

This is a concern that often comes up when I'm facilitating a mediation. The fact of the matter is that life changes, and we really don't know what the future will hold. When I'm doing divorce financial planning work with clients, I discuss ways to protect spousal support so that my clients don't have to worry about whether or not they'll have it in the future. 

Q: Can I get spousal support before my divorce is finalized?

You may be eligible for temporary spousal support prior to finalizing your divorce. If you are going through mediation to settle your case, then you can discuss the issue in mediation. If you're going through the court, you can petition the court for temporary support. That doesn't mean that it will be awarded, but it can be.

Q: Is spousal support taxable? 

In 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) eliminated the federal tax deduction for those paying spousal support. As a result, for divorces finalized after December 31, 2018, spousal support is no longer federally taxable to the recipient. If your divorce was final prior to the end of 2018, the spousal support is still taxable to the recipient and deductible for the paying spouse. The state of Ohio went along with the federal change, and spousal support is also not taxable in Ohio, but that's not true in every state.

Q: If there's no calculator, how will the judge calculate spousal support if my case goes to trial?

If your case goes to trial, the judge has quite a bit of discretion regarding if spousal support will be awarded. The judge can also determine how much, how long, and whether or not it will be modifiable. An attorney who regularly practices family law in your local court will be best able to advise you on what to expect, as some local jurisdictions do have their own guidelines for calculating spousal support. That said, you really never know. You give up any control you had when your case goes to trial.

That's why I am such a proponent of mediation. Using mediation to negotiate your settlement gives you the greatest control over the process. When you are in mediation, you and your soon-to-be ex can work together to determine what you consider fair. 

As a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA), I typically look at spousal in terms of need and ability to pay. It's important to have clarity on both parties' living expenses to be able to look at it this way.

For examples of some of the settlements I've seen when facilitating mediation, visit my blog post on the topic:

Spousal Support in Ohio: A Look at Various Outcomes Achieved in Mediation


About Intentional Divorce Solutions

At Intentional Divorce Solutions, we're committed to guiding individuals through the complexities of divorce with an approach centered on empowered choices and respectful outcomes. Our team provides comprehensive support and expertise in several key areas:

  • Divorce Financial Planning and Analysis: Providing in-depth financial insights and strategies for a secure future post-divorce.
  • Divorce Mediation: Facilitating respectful and balanced negotiations to reach mutually beneficial resolutions.
  • Divorce Coaching: Offering personalized support and guidance to help you navigate through the emotional and practical challenges of divorce.
  • Divorce Support Groups: Creating a space for sharing experiences and finding strength in community support.

Please Note: We focus on providing support and solutions in various aspects of divorce. However, we are not attorneys and do not offer legal advice.

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If you are on the journey of divorce and seeking professional, empathetic support, we are here to assist you. Reach out to us to discover how our services can be adapted to your unique needs, empowering you to make informed decisions for respectful and positive outcomes.

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