There are a number of factors the Ohio courts evaluate when determining if a spouse is eligible for spousal support and, if the spouse is eligible, the amount of the spousal support payments. The main purpose of alimony is to prevent an unbalanced economic situation from occurring as a consequence of divorce; Court-ordered spousal support is intended to intervene and rectify this situation. Some factors considered in determining spousal support:
- the length of the marriage;
- the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage;
- the relative income of each individual; and
- the needs of each spouse.
Whether or not an individual from the marriage is required to support the other individual is left up to the discretion of the Court with its careful consideration of all the factors at hand. Under current Ohio law, spousal support can be in different forms depending on the factors considered by the Courts.
Permanent: Permanent alimony intends to allow the supported spouse continuation of the lifestyle he or she became accustomed to during the marriage and compensation for economic dependence created by the marriage. Courts will normally consider a permanent alimony request if the marriage was at least 25 years long and if economic need is demonstrated.
Rehabilitative: Rehabilitative alimony is temporary and it is intended to enable the former spouse to return to school or to obtain job training enabling him or her to gain financial independence. Rehabilitative alimony, for example, may require the husband pay tuition to acquire the knowledge or skills his ex-wife will need to enter the job market in a particular field.
Limited Duration: Limited duration alimony is similar to rehabilitative in that it is for a specified, limited period of time. This type of spousal support is often awarded when the marriage itself existed for a limited time. When limited duration spousal support is awarded, generally rehabilitative alimony does not apply; however, there may be circumstances that justify some financial support.
Reimbursement: Reimbursement spousal support is awarded when a spouse has made sacrifices of either a professional or financial nature so that the other spouse is given the opportunity to pursue professional training or career development to enhance the spouse’s earning capacity at some point in the future.
In addition to the above forms of alimony, either party may request an award of temporary support while divorce is pending. This award, referred to as “pendente lite” support allows the parties to maintain their existing state of financial affairs until a complete analysis of the financials is done. While pendente lite alimony awards are only temporary, these awards can be adjusted via a settlement, or at trial if necessary.