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Factors considered in determining spousal support

When a couple files for divorce in Ohio, one of the spouses may seek an order for spousal support from the other spouse. In accordance with Ohio law, the court considers that each spouse equally contributed to the production of marital income. When determining whether or not spousal support is reasonable and appropriate, the court has many factors to consider.

One of the biggest considerations is the total income that each spouse earns, including income from divided, distributed or disbursed property. The relative ability of each spouse to earn an income, their retirement benefits and how long the couple was married are other factors considered in the decision. The physical, mental and emotional conditions of each spouse are also considered, along with their ages, expected standard of living, level of completed education and whether it is appropriate for the custodial parent of their minor child to seek a job outside of the home.

In some spousal support cases, it is necessary for the court to consider the relative liabilities and assets of each spouse as well as the contribution that each spouse made to the other spouse's training, education and ability to earn during marriage. A court may also consider any tax consequences that could arise from awarded spousal support.

Although spousal support is not an outstanding matter in all divorce cases, a prime example of why a spouse may seek support is if the individual was a stay-at-home parent. Though this spouse may have a good education, he or she may lack the training or experience to obtain a job that pays well enough to maintain the standard of living that he or she is accustomed to. If the couple does not agree on a fair spousal support arrangement, the court will decide for them.

Source: codes.ohio.gov, "Awarding spousal support - modification of spousal support", October 04, 2014

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