Spousal Support

“Spousal support” (aka alimony) means any payment or payments to be made to a spouse or former spouse, or to a third party for the benefit of a spouse or a former spouse, that is both for sustenance and for support of the spouse or former spouse. Spousal support does not include any payment made to a spouse or former spouse, or to a third party for the benefit of a spouse or former spouse, that is made as part of a division or distribution of property or a distributive award. Upon the request of either party and after the court determines the division or disbursement of property, the court may award reasonable spousal support to either party. During the pendency of any divorce, the court may award reasonable temporary spousal support to either party. An award of spousal support may be allowed in real or personal property, or both, or by decreeing a sum of money, payable either in gross or by installments, from future income or otherwise, as the court considers equitable. Any award of spousal support will terminate upon the death of either party, unless the order containing the award expressly provides otherwise. In determining whether spousal support is appropriate and reasonable, and in determining the nature, amount, and terms of payment, and duration of spousal support, which is payable either in gross or in installments, the court will consider all of the following factors:

  • The income of the parties, from all sources, including, but not limited to, income derived from property divided, disbursed, or distributed under section 3105.171 of the Revised Code;
  • 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 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.

In determining whether spousal support is reasonable and in determining the amount and terms of payment of spousal support, each party is considered to have contributed equally to the production of marital income. If a continuing order for periodic payments of money as spousal support is entered, the court that enters the decree of divorce or dissolution of marriage does not have jurisdiction to modify the amount or terms of the alimony or spousal support unless the court determines that the circumstances of either party have changed and unless one of the following applies:

  1. In the case of a divorce, the decree or a separation agreement of the parties to the divorce that is incorporated into the decree contains a provision specifically authorizing the court to modify the amount or terms of alimony or spousal support.
  2. In the case of a dissolution of marriage, the separation agreement that is approved by the court and incorporated into the decree contains a provision specifically authorizing the court to modify the amount or terms of alimony or spousal support.

If any person required to pay spousal support is found in contempt of court for failure to make alimony or spousal support payments under the order, the court that makes the finding, in addition to any other penalty or remedy imposed, shall assess all court costs arising out of the contempt proceeding against the person and shall require the person to pay any reasonable attorney’s fees of any adverse party, as determined by the court, that arose in relation to the act of contempt.

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