Judges in Medina, Wooster, and North Canton, Ohio have long recognized the financial and emotional turmoil that a divorce, annulment, or separation can have on a married couple. Frequently, one spouse is at a financial disadvantage because of a disparity in the married couple’s relative incomes. While not a problem during the marriage when the two incomes were combined to pay bills and support a certain lifestyle, the loss of the two incomes can leave one spouse with a financial hardship.
Alimony in Medina, Wooster, and North Canton
Spousal support or alimony, as it was at referred to in the past, is designed to avoid or lessen the financial effects of divorce or separation by providing a payment or a series of payments from one spouse to the other. Section 3105.18 of the Ohio Revised Code explains that spousal support is for the sustenance and support of the spouse or former spouse who is in need of it.
Spousal support in Medina, Wooster, and North Canton can be in the form of a single payment or in multiple payments. It includes payments made to third parties for the benefit of the spouse for which it is intended. Alimony is not part of the division of assets or a distributive award in an action to terminate the marriage such as divorce, dissolution or annulment.
Alimony or spousal support can be in the form of money, personal property, real property, or a combination of each. Payment can be in a lump sum, in periodic installments, or in any manner that is determined to be equitable by the court hearing the case. Unless the court in Medina, Wooster, and North Canton orders otherwise, spousal support ends upon the death of either the spouse making the payment or of the spouse receiving it.
Factors in Awarding Spousal Support
The awarding of Medina, Wooster, and North Canton spousal support or the amount of support to award is left to the discretion of the court. Section 3105.18 lists factors judges should take into account in making their decision on the amount, form, and duration of spousal support. Factors enumerated in the statute include:
- Relative incomes of each of the parties
- Sources of income of each of the parties
- Earning abilities of the parties
- Age of the parties
- Mental, physical, and emotional health of the parties
- Duration of the marriage
- Retirement benefits received or to be received by each person
- Although able to work, is one party limited in doing so because of childcare responsibilities
- Standard of living enjoyed by the couple during the marriage
- Education of the parties
- Assets and liabilities of each of the parties relative to each other
- Contributions made by each party to the education or earning ability of the other including the attainment of a professional degree
- Time and cost required for party seeking alimony to achieve a level of education, job experience, and training needed to qualify for gainful employment
- Tax consequences of spousal support on each person
- Effect of marital responsibilities on the income production capacity of each party
- Any other factor considered by the court to be equitable and relevant
Spousal Contributions to the Marriage
An experienced and knowledgeable Medina family law attorney at the Law Office of Parker & Erb, LLC can assist a spouse who remained at home during the marriage to care for children and maintain the household while the other spouse was employed outside of the home or operated a business or professional practice. The law in Medina, Wooster, and North Canton directs judges hearing spousal support cases to treat each spouse as having contributed equally to the household income during the marriage.
Modification of Spousal Support Orders
State law makes it difficult to modify spousal support orders. Once a support order is granted by a judge, it can only be changed or modified if the party bringing the proceeding in Medina, Wooster, or North Canton can prove there has been a change of circumstances. Changes in an individual’s income, expenses, or other financial circumstances will not be sufficient to justify a change in an award of alimony unless both of the following exist:
- The change in circumstances must be so substantial as to make the existing support order no longer reasonable or appropriate
- The change in circumstances was not raised or brought to the attention of the court at the time it made its order awarding alimony
A Medina Family Law Attorney Can Help
The payment of spousal support or alimony can significantly affect the financial future of both spouses. For answer to questions or concerns about alimony, contact the Law Office of Parker & Erb, LLC today at 330.725.4114.