Will There be a Spousal Support Formula in Ohio?

In April of this 2011, the Spousal Support Subcommittee of the Ohio State Bar Association Family Law Committee had reached a final report and recommendation for new legislation designed to create predictability and consistency in establishing compensatory spousal support in all Ohio Courts.  The following formula was proposed:

1. “Regarding the “duration” of a compensatory spousal support award, a rebuttable presumption arises that it should be indefinite in a marital relationship of 25 years or more, and definite in a marital relationship between five and 25 years. For definite durations, the statutory ranges are 30% to 35% of the length of a relationship between five and 10 years; 35% to 40% of the length of a relationship of 10 to 15 years; 40% to 45% of the length of a relationship between 15 and 20 years; and, 45% to 50% of the length of a relationship of 20 to 25 years.

2. Regarding the “amount” of a compensatory spousal support award, the method for computing “is the amount that equals the difference in the income generating capacities of both spouses multiplied by an appropriate percentage selected by the court from the following applicable ranges of percentages:” 25% to 30% for marital relationships between five and 10 years; 30% to 35% for relationships between 10 and 15 years; 35% to 40% for relationships between 15 and 20 years; and 40% to 50% in relationships of 20 years or more.

3. In selecting an appropriate percentage figure within any range for the duration and amount of a compensatory spousal support award, or in exercising discretion to deviate from such ranges, the court may consider a list of factors very similar to the factors currently in the spousal support statute (RC 3105.18).

4. In any marital relationship of less than five years, issues of entitlement, duration and amount regarding any award of compensatory spousal support are completely matters for determination within the broad discretion of the court.”

The Domestic Relations Section of the Ohio Judicial Conference is opposed to this proposal, but some individual Domestic Relation Judges and Magistrates have started using the new guidelines in making their decisions when ordering spousal support. Whether this specific proposal to legislation will become law is a matter to be debated. Such proposals have been made in the past and have not been enacted.

The push to create a state wide formula for calculating spousal support in Domestic Relations cases seems to be picking up steam again. Until such legislation becomes law, the decision on whether to order spousal support, the amount of spousal support, and the duration of spousal support, the Courts must consider the following factors:

“(a) 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;

(b) The relative earning abilities of the parties;

(c) The ages and the physical, mental, and emotional conditions of the parties;

(d) The retirement benefits of the parties;

(e) The duration of the marriage;

(f) 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;

(g) The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage;

(h) The relative extent of education of the parties;

(i) The relative assets and liabilities of the parties, including but not limited to any court-ordered payments by the parties;

(j) 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;

(k) 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;

(l) The tax consequences, for each party, of an award of spousal support;

(m) The lost income production capacity of either party that resulted from that party’s marital responsibilities;

(n) Any other factor that the court expressly finds to be relevant and equitable.” O.R.C. 3105.18

For more information contact me.www.candito.com

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65 Responses to Will There be a Spousal Support Formula in Ohio?

  1. wendy jones says:

    here is the basis of my situation. i was just wondering if i would be a candidate for spousal support, short term, just to get back up on my feet. my husband told me last night that he wants a divorce after the first of the year. unfortunately i am afraid this will not be an easy one to settle. he is a tax auditor for the city of cols. He makes approx $4800/mo. i work as an admin for a trucking company. I make $2400/mo. there will be a fight over custody. We have a 13 year old daughter. he also runs 2 businesses out of the home (tax preparer and furian leather) as well as income from gambling which he usually writes off on his taxes as breaking even. he has city retirement and i have none. he pays all the healthcare insurance for me and our daughter. we own a home. the deed is in both names and the mortgage is in his name. the mortgage is $1500/mo. i would never want the house. we moved in it in 2000. we began living together in june 1994 but did not get married until feb 2006. he takes care of all the money. i give him $250/week to take care of bills. I have 3 bank accounts with chase. He has at least one account with PNC and approx 3-4 with chase. At least one of those is his business account for furian leather. We do not have any joint credit cards. He is the only one with credit cards. We also have 3 cars. 1 in my name and 2 in his name. the car in my name, we gave to our 22yr old son in Pennsylvania to drive (01 or 02 grand prix) I drive an 03 hyundai tiberon registered in my husbands name and my husband drives a mazda tribute, probably an 03. I do not want to be left without a car. i would like to know what types of paperwork i need to try to get my hands on for a consultation. I want to be well prepared because his plan is to make sure that he takes everything and I get nothing. i dont want anything long and drawn out, but i know that he would rather pay a lawyer (he gets free legal fees through the city) than to try to be fair

    • First of all, you are on the right track by seeking out information before any action is taken. You have important issues to discuss with a local domestic relations attorney. I HIGHLY recommend that you schedule a consultation with an attorney in Franklin County as soon as possible to discuss your options. Although it is unrealistic that your husband will get “everything” and you will end up with nothing, your husband can make the process more difficult for you if you are not able to gain access to necessary information.

  2. Leo Kaliszewski says:

    Has the legislation for spousal support formula passed into law in Ohio ?

  3. Kim says:

    If the legislation passes, will it be retroactive for people who already have to pay lifetime spousal support? Are there any groups for alimony or spousal support reform in Ohio? I would like to get involved.

    • Dear Kim:

      I couldn’t tell you whether the legislation will affect any of the existing order. I doubt that. There are national groups that are active in Ohio on the issue of spousal support reform. But the groups I know of take an adversarial approach from either the husband’s/father’s or Obligor’s side or that of the wife’s/mother’s or Obligee’s. Of you google your inquiry, the sites will come up.

  4. Nicole says:

    I have a question about the dissolution of marriage process. I happened to read the comments above, and see that it’s stated that the legislation hasn’t passed yet. So that left me curious to how this process works. From what I read from the Ohio revised code, I am trying to make sense of my eligibility I guess. My husband of now 12 years, is filing for a Dissolution of marriage. Wed in 2001, gave birth to our only child in July 2002. Which born with medical issues and several surgeries were required. Husband attended only one. Which I had to ask my Mother for her help, due to absence of my husband.The marriage drifted apart from that point. Curiosity came to me and it appeared as if he became uninterested in the relationship when the responsibilities of my child came into play. Husband became distant and appeared to not have the time for these responsibilities. Surgeries started from the time of age 3months, a total of 5 surgeries have been conducted so far. Was a stay at home mother, as directed to do so by spouse, and was much needed to care for my child. ** I struggled with opiate addiction off and on after the birth of my child. As a year goes by, Husband worked for a used car dealer ship, that resulted in corrupt activity, drug bust, and a list of stolen property and so on.. I became addicted to opiates and struggled at this point in time period. In 2004 this dealership was raided, and shut down, several people were handed charges, including myself. Husband recieved recieving stolen property and recieved a one year sentance. I recieved a four year and eleven month sentance. I was handed the violent crime charges of theft of a firearm three times, also for each theft charge I was also charged with burglury, and then one charge of forgery. This was a result from his place of employment. I completed the entire sentance.(A year before my incarceration and durring, the location of residence of husband became unknown, he made no attemp to contact or care for our child. I believe one time he did bring her a birthday gift. But that is the extent of the matter. Made no attemp to support me as his spouse or my daughter. Eventually state ordered child support. Which the order was awarded to my mother, who had legal and complete custody of our child. Currently my Mother still has legal custody and guardianship, due to my issues and struggles with employment, finances, and housing. These factors are still a struggle for me today. So I am curious to wether or not I have a good chance to receive spousal support.

    • Dear Nicole:

      Although you present a couple of the factors a Domestic Relations Court would consider relevant to the award of spousal support, there isn’t enough information on income, assets and other relevant considerations when determining spousal support. I do not think it would be wise or appropriate for you to post that information on this blog. I HIGHLY recommend that you consult with an attorney in your county. If the two of you are planning to proceed with a dissolution of marriage, then you will need to sign a separation agreement that will end up determining your rights to spousal support. If the separation agreement is incorporated into the final decree, you may lose any right you have to contest or request spousal support if it were not addressed in the separation agreement.

  5. virginia vrahiotes says:

    divorced after 30 year marriage spousal support ordered $1000 month for 9 years//ex quit paying after a year..what legal right do I have.. luicas county ohio I am 62 and retired but not yet getting social security..I am being forced to live on the IRA money and it will be gone in 6 years…

    • Your ex-husband has an order to pay spousal support. If it has not been modified, he does not have the “option” to stop paying you. You should hired legal counsel to file a Motion to hold your ex-husband in Contempt of Court for not obeying the order. If he is found in Contempt, he could be ordered to pay for your legal fees as well. You should not delay in seeking the Court enforcement of the order.

  6. Wenda Armstrong says:

    My husband and I have been married for 34 years. We are both 53. We are getting a divorce. He has always made more income than me. Right now he makes twice as much as I do. My parents own 250 acres of land that has been in our family for generations. They gave us 5 acres to put a modular home on and we would have lived there for the rest of our lives. The land sets right in the middle of everything and it would be hard to let it go. The land means everything to my family. I want to keep my land and home. We don’t have anything else that we own that would amount to the difference that I could let him have to leave the home alone. I’m going for spousal support. I’m afraid that he is going to make me sale the home. Is there anything I can do? I don’t understand the whole process of divorce and how the court tries to make it equal to both. If i keep the land and home, there is not much left for him to have. I can see him making me sale the home because he is helping to pay for it. Do I have any options? Thanks for your time

    • Dear Wenda:

      If you are in the process of your divorce, you should discuss this matter with your attorney. Assuming that the “gift” of the property from your parents was to the both of you, the value of the land would be marital property, and your husband would be entitled to half of the value. But this does not mean that you would have to sell the property. You could pay him his share either out of other marital property or out of spousal support. Spousal support does not necessarily have to be ordered in installments. There could be a lump sum award. However, there is no mandatory provision in the Ohio Code that requires that your husband has to receive one half of the marital estate. The law directs the domestic relations court to make an “equitable division” of marital assets. For most cases, that equitable division is a 50/50 split. But there are situations in which a 50/50 split is NOT equitable. This is a matter you need to discuss with your attorney. After 34 years of marriage, there may be factors in your case that would support an unequal property division as an equitable division of marital property. Find an experienced domestic relations attorney and discuss the details. You have options!

  7. Teri C. says:

    Hello I have been married 25 1/2 years stay at home mom never worked husband never wanted me to I have 8 year old twins now he left for another women he makes 95,000 year he dosent want to pay me spousal support.

    • Dear Teri:

      The order of spousal support is not contingent upon what your husband wants to do. Obviously you didn’t consent his leaving you and your children. Somehow you didn’t have a “say” in that decision did you? Well then, your husband may not have a say on whether he pays spousal support. The award of spousal support is in the discretion of the Domestic Relations Court based on the factors listed in Ohio Revised Code 3105.18. You should consult with a local domestic relations attorney to determine what your next move should be.

  8. Richard Layton says:

    I was robbed of 3k by soon to be ex-wife’s son and tried to press charges against him=he is 20;bcuz I filed charges=wife filed divorce on me=I hold 80% of the debt during marriage at the least, even tho I make 54k per yr to her 26k=she voluntarily quit her full time job and moved out of state during the legal separation prior to our upcoming divorce hearing=we were married 13 yrs=will I be liable for any spousal support? On top of that, I work 60 hr work weeks to attain my 54k and am often sick=I can’t work like this forever at age 52;Thanks=Stark County

    • Dear Richard:

      It is never easy to give a definitive answer without having all of the relevant information. That is way I advise you to speak to a local attorney. But saying that, your spouse’s underemployment and your debt servicing would be factors in arguing against the award of spousal support. Do not risk going into a contested hearing without an attorney. If you are not prepared, do not assume that the Judge will continue the case to allow you to get an attorney. The wrong approach in your case can cost you thousand’s of dollars over the years after the divorce is granted.

  9. Rose says:

    I am an attorney (Not admitted in Ohio) who recently married a physician. His prior marriage fact pattern as follows; 24 year marriage; wife did not work although she has degrees. 4 adult children. His decree ordered permanent spousal support in the amount of 13k month, modifiable at age 62 if he retires. She also got 1/2 of his pension up front. He has since developed arthritis and may be looking at an involuntary decrease in his income.
    Questions: What are his chances of prevailing on a downward modification based on his current disablity
    He hasnt stopped working yet, must he do so before his motion?
    Can she discover/ attach to my income?
    What are our options at age 62? Can/will this go on indefinately?

    • Dear Rose:

      This is a difficult situation. First, you need to take a look at the Decree of Divorce to determine whether the Court retained jurisdiction to modify either (or both) the length and/or amount of spousal support. Assuming this is an Ohio decree, the Court can specifically retain, or specifically NOT retain, jurisdiction to modify. When there is an order for spousal, the court will retain jurisdiction to enforce the spousal support via a contempt action; but this does not automatically vest the Court with jurisdiction to modify the order. It is customary for Courts to retain jurisdiction over the amount but not the length of the support order. You need to see what is spelled out in the decree. If the court specifically did NOT retain jurisdiction to modify the amount of the support, then your husband’s disability is irrelevant and the order stands whether he has diminished (or no) income. The support can be enforced against assets your husband may own. The court cannot attach your income BUT if your income or assets are co-mingled with your husband’s, you could have a problem. If assets are in your name and there has been no fraudulent transfers, the court cannot reach those assets.

      If the court retained jurisdiction to modify the amount, then your husband will have to show a substantial change of circumstances to have the support order modified. The disability would have to result in actual diminished income. Therefore the motion could not be filed until either he is not working or cannot make the same income at his job. Certainly, his disability would be a factor, but all investment income would be considered as well; and if his TOTAL income has not changed since the time of the divorce, the threshold may not be met for a modification. Here is were your income MAY play a factor. And YES she can discover your income AND assets. The Court cannot attach your income but it could consider your income as income “available” to your husband for payment of current expenses and a factor under ORC 3105.18 (C)(1)(n).

      What worries me about your situation is that “permanent” spousal support usually means “for life” with no ability to terminate except if his ex remarries and/or he or she dies. It sounds from your description, that modification is ONLY triggered at age 62 “IF” he retires. Unless there is additional language in the decree that allows the court to modify the support order under other circumstances, your husband may not be able to modify. You need to discuss all this with a local Domestic Relations attorney. If it is determined that your husband cannot modify the spousal support, you may need to do some legitimate estate planning to protect assets in your name. Good luck counselor.

      Joseph Candito

  10. PCW says:

    Montgomery County OHIO…Husband & Wife married for 28 yrs. Children gone and out of house for more than 5 yrs. Wife doesn’t want to work. In process of divorce. Debt consumes all equity of husbands business (even though shows making 36K yr), all the equity of home and other property is under water. Since wife had no income, all debt in husbands name. Husband is paying temporary spousal, footing all the living expenses, all the debt (bills).

    Wife recently obtained a job making 24,500 yrly. Can this be considered for motion to change spousal? And how/what is the potential for future spousal after marriage of 28 yrs? Wife wants the home and husband to continue paying spousal for approx 9 yrs. Oh by the way Wife is 54 and Husband is 53.

    *Is age and heading to retirement a factor for either or both?
    *Is the fact the debt is considered marital (personal and business debt)? Would this calculate into the formula of paying spousal?
    *The fact the Wife did not want to work – will this decrease the term of the marriage when Wife is capable but would not work?
    * Does Ohio (Montgomery Cty) consider reduction year after year in spousal encouraging work to continue for Wife?

    • Dear PCW:

      If there is a temporary support order, then you are in litigation at this time. If you are represented by an attorney, you need to go over these issues. If you are not represented by an attorney, I suggest you find one NOW! You are in a situation that can cost you for years to come if your case is not presented properly. First, you have to be mindful of how your business is going to be appraised. If your income stream in going to be a factor in the valuation of your business, then not only are you going to have to divide the value of the business with your wife, but that same income stream will be a factor in considering spousal support. Long term spousal support should consider the parties’ relative financial situation AFTER the division of marital assets. If your wife has recently obtained a job, then yes, you MAY have a change of circumstances that requires a reconsideration of temporary spousal support. Everything you have identified would be a factor in determining spousal support. But the trick is to get the order right. Division of assets and allocation of marital debt can have a huge impact on the amount and length of spousal support. You need a skilled attorney to help you through this process. It will not happen automatically. If you determine spousal support only on the length of marriage, 9 years is not an unreasonable term. However, it MAY be unreasonable in YOUR situation. Whether Montgomery Domestic Relations Court will consider a reduction in support in the future will depend on whether the court retains jurisdiction to modify the support order. If it does not, then you are stuck with paying the order regardless of any change in circumstance. If the court retains jurisdiction over the amount of the order, then you can file a post decree motion for a modification if there has been a change of circumstances since the original order. You need some help, if you don’t already have an attorney, get one! Check here.


  11. concerned daughter says:

    Hi Joe,

    I sure wish you were in a different part of the state. You seem very knowledgeable and level headed! I’m concerned for my dad. Parents married almost 30 years. Mom worked part time for about 10 years then full time for about 12 years, made about $50k when she retired. My dad remarried a woman who made 6 figures on her own. She retired about 5 years ago. Us kids were 20+ years old when they divorced, but dad still has had to pay $3,ooo+ per month for spousal support, to end upon remarriage or death. So my mom gets the spousal support, his social security, and her retirement. My dad will retire soon at age 64. She received a portion of his 401k at divorce, plus a 6 figure lump sum when his company sold a few years back. Problem is: she has a huge spending problem and is in debt because she just likes to shop. They will be going to court soon as my dad wants to reduce the spousal support he pays. I’m concerned for a few things: I am hoping they will not involve my step-mom’s assets (fortunately she is not working to earn an income now), that they will not modify spousal support because my mom is in debt from her spending habits (she has received PLENTY of money and if she had spend/saved wisely she would be fine), and that my mom will go after a trust/investment that has been set up by my dad and step mom for the grandkids. Ohio seems like such a horrible place for divorce/fair spousal support. Am I right to be concerned about those things?

    Also, do you ever represent people outside of SW Ohio, but still in OH?

    • Dear Concerned Daughter:

      Since your dad is going back to court to modify the order, I have to assume that the court retained jurisdiction to modify. If it didn’t, he is wasting his time. He will have to show a change of circumstances, his retirement would be such a change that “could” result in a modification. Your father’s spouses’ income will not DIRECTLY factor into the consideration because it is not a specific factor under O.R.C. 3105.18. However, her income could be considered as available income to pay your father’s monthly expenses under 3105.18(C)(1)(n). Your mother cannot “go after” any assets as far as property division. That part of the divorce has been permanently determined at the time of the Decree and the Court doesn’t have jurisdiction to make post-decree property division. However, the income to your father from those assets may be considered. Also, if you father is in arrears, the court could attach his assets for payment of that arrearage. Your mother’s spending habits may be relevant as well.

      As a practical matter, I don’t represent clients outside SW Ohio, but I have represented clients in different parts of the state. However, there are many good domestic relations attorneys throughout the state. You need to find an attorney who is familiar with the local rules of the court, and has experience with the particular Judges’ tendencies in spousal support cases. I hope things work out best for both your parents. As you know, the impact of divorce is long lasting.

  12. Dan says:

    My soon to be ex-wife has filed for permanent spousal support in Delaware, Ohio. She makes more money than I do owning her own insurance business and was proven in Court with W-2. I have appealed this several times, now going to the 5th district. They have me paying 2000.00 per month…..I am unable to live. How does the Court determine this factor of money? How can they rule against the lower paying spouse? Also the appeal date was not up until July 15th – the CSEA contacted my employer on July 5th with a withholding order. Isn’t the CSEA suppose to wait until the final appeal date is over before sending the paper work to the employer?
    I feel as though the system has ruled in her favor because she has a business in the same county/city as the divorce was filed in. Please don’t ask me to get an attorney – I obviously can not afford one! Pro-se

    • Dear Dan:

      If you are not going to seek out the assistance of an attorney, there is little I can do for you. This is the MOST crucial time for you to be properly represented. Your divorce is not final yet. There are many factors that can have an impact not only on the amount of spousal support but on how long you will be paying. If you don’t know what you are doing you can end up with a permanent order that you cannot modify. There is no way around it, you need local counsel. You cannot afford NOT to be represented.


  13. Kym says:

    I am currently going through a divorce and my soon to be ex husband is coming after me for spousal support. Throughout our 11 year marriage (3 kids) he has worked on and off, always quitting one job to try another. He is a perfectly able bodied man capable of working. Because of his lack of consistent work he was the parent who stayed home with the children more. But NOT because we couldn’t afford day care, we always had family that watched the children for free or for very little. I have had my career for almost 14 years now and make 55,000 a year and he is only working part time but did start school. His income is about 13,000 a year. We by no means lived an elaborate life style because of my career…we lived paycheck to paycheck all our marriage. One income doesn’t support 5 people very well. His claim is I wanted him to stay home to care for the kids and that was NOT the case…he just wouldn’t work 🙁 Can I dispute the fact that he was able to work and wouldn’t? Just don’t feel its fair to have to pay him alimony because he was lazy!!! He flat out told me he has no intentions of working full time so he can continue to get food stamps and free medical!!! Very frustrating. I do have an attorney but when I bring up alimony I feel like he is brushing off the subject…Thank you for any advise!

    • Dear Kym:

      This is a matter you need to discuss with your attorney. If you are not comfortable doing so, you need to have a discussion about what you expect in his/her representation of you in this matter. If the two of you cannot agree on how to proceed, you may need to find someone with whom you are more compatible.

      Joseph Candito

  14. June Emery says:

    I would like to know if you are married for 5 yrs. and your husband had his home for a long time before you married him are you entitled to half of his assetts? If when she left she took $47,000.00 out of the bank and a new pickup along with all the new furniture. Now she wants half of everything.What is she entitled to and she entitled to alimony?

    • Dear June:

      Generally, a spouse is entitled to an “equitable distribution” of assets acquired during the marriage. This usually (but not always) means he or she is entitled to 50% of what was acquired after the two are married (except for passive income on assets owned prior to marriage). This also includes being responsible for 50% of marital debts as well. If assets were unilaterally taken by one spouse or the other, then legal action (divorce) should be taken to preserve the legal rights to those assets. A spouse may not be able to argue that funds used by another should be considered as part of the marital property division if the act took place years before the divorce and during the marriage. The person making the claim to assets expended by the other must be able to “trace” those assets. i.e. prove the funds were deposited during the marriage and withdrawn by the other. Issues of spousal support are based on the factors outlined in ORC 3105.18. Your friend should seek legal assistance immediately.

      Joseph Candito

  15. CEO says:

    According to my lawyer, some counties now awards spousal support for short-term marriages if there are minors involved, and it can be indefinite no matter how short the marriage. With a 2nd grader and a huge income disparity, how would that turn out in my case after a five-year marriage? My ex makes way less and she has more expenses, due to house, utilities, car, physical custody etc.

    • The circumstances would have to be outrageous for a court to issue an “indefinite” order on a short term marriage. Most likely there would have had to have been a long term relationship that was continuous to the marriage. The purpose of spousal support is not to create a windfall for someone just because he or she marries a person of a higher income. Sounds like your lawyer may have information on the local practices in your county that you need to discuss with him. Good luck.

      Joseph Candito

  16. Natesha says:

    Hi and thanks for answering my question.

    My husband filed for divorce February 2013. Magistrate granted me temp. spousal support. My husband came to me July 2013 and ask if I wanted a divorce. I never wanted to end my marriage. He ask me to drop it and we’d reconcile. On July 17, 2013 (Franklin County) he had me sign the Entry to drop it and he verbally told me he’d give me $336 a month to help me with the rent. To no avail I haven’t seen him (he’s still living with his brother/mother) and he hasn’t given me a dime of support. Is there anything I can file in the court to get support from him? I just obtained permanent employment October 2013. Thanks again!!

    • Dear Natesha:

      I don’t understand what you asked to “drop”. You said YOUR husband filed the divorce, but then asked you to drop “IT”. If you just had the court vacate the temporary order, you may have a difficult time re-instating it. However, if you dismissed your Complaint for Divorce, you should be able to file again and request temporary spousal support. Of course if you are working now, that may alter the amount granted. You should not be making these decisions without the aid of legal counsel. I recommend that you consult with an attorney in Franklin County.

  17. Mike says:

    I am only owner of LLC and file taxes with Sch C. Am being told that the mileage deduction I take with the irs is not allowed and I have to prove my out of pocket with the vehicle expenses, the rest of what I cannot prove will go into calculations on alimony & child support. Do I keep every gas receipt and every little thing and change how i do my taxes, or do I keep doing the same as I have been doing? Claiming mileage (I am in construction and the vehicle is used only for the business). Also who decides it is the lawyers, the judge? what numbers to use? Is there a formula they are required to follow? My adjusted gross income? My gross etc. I am confused, please help.

    • Dear Mike:

      With respect to your allowable deductions, you need to consult with your tax professional. Child support is not normally deductible. However, spousal support can be deductible especially if it is included as income in your ex-spouse’s tax return. The final decree will usually makes this clear. You need to provide verification of the payment of spousal support. This is another matter to discuss with your tax professional.

      Very truly yours,

      Joseph Candito
      Attorney at law

  18. Sheri says:

    After 18 1/2 years of marriage my husband wants to file for dissolution. He has moved out and had been paying me since April an agreed upon amount of money. This month, December, he has decided he is paying too much and cut the amount. Can I file for temporary child and spousal support before we file for the dissolution? And if so, can I get the forms on line?

    • Dear Sheri:

      You need to seek the help of attorney in your county of residence. This is not a matter for you to try to handle yourself. A dissolution can only be filed if you and your husband are in complete agreement on all terms of the dissolution which include matters of support. To obtain temporary spousal support, you are going to have to file a Complaint for divorce and request both spousal and child support. The Juvenile Court also has jurisdiction to order child support but not spousal support. If you do not want to file a complaint for divorce, you could file a motion for child support in Juvenile Court but you won’t get any help with household expenses or spousal support. There may be forms online on your county clerk’s website. If you live in Warren, Butler, Hamilton or Clermont County, you can find the links on my forms page here: Forms . But I recommend you speak with an attorney first. You may prejudice your rights if you do not take the proper steps.

      Joseph Candito
      Attorney at Law

  19. Milee says:

    I filed for divorce after 18 years and feel helpless. My husband was “absent”, expecting me to be responsible for all shared duties while I also worked full-time. In 2007, he was diagnosed with colon cancer. He’s cancer free but has a colostomy and large hernia. He was a state corrections’ officer, so due to the potential physical nature of the job was retired on an OPERS disability pension in 2008. In 2010, I earned a master’s degree, bringing in 3 times his pension. A PMR doctor verified his “disability”, stating he can’t work; but he works part time in a gym (and can exercise daily for an hour/+). OPERS doesn’t limit the hours he may work and they approved the job.

    His lawyer is well-versed in disability and has petitioned for permanent support. His pension is $1700/mo. and he makes $550+/mo. working about 12-16 hrs/week at the gym. The magistrate at the Temp Orders hearing ordered me to pay $1600/month plus $600 child support for our 3 children. My yearly income is $97,500 and his is around $27,000, but we live paycheck to paycheck.

    His attorney is pushing hard to get him all he is “entitled to”. I’m seeing another attorney for 2nd opinion prior to settling, since I feel I have no voice and am being”punished” for needing to get out of this marriage and for furthering my education. He’s agreed to “take less” (ie $1200/mo. x 7 yrs) if I agree to pay him $1000/month after that until I retire (I’m 43!). There’s no order to split marital debt (mostly in my name since I was in-charge of managing the finances). He also says he won’t honor the Shared Parenting order stating our kids stay with him (ages 17, 13, & 9) when I work (I’m straight nights).

    Please tell me if I have any hope of fighting?!

    • You definitely should seek legal representation on this matter. You make reference to getting a “2nd opinion”. Unless you already have an attorney representing you, his attorney is NOT providing an objective and independent opinion. Your husband’s attorney is representing your husband’s interest. You need to have someone represent yours. You should rarely agree on permanent support unless the court has indicated that it would make such an order (especially in an 18 year marriage). You might be better off litigating the matter. But I cannot presume to know all the details in your negotiations. If you are represented, discuss this with your current attorney. If you are not, I recommend you hire one.

      Joseph Candito
      Attorney at Law

  20. Jessy says:

    I have been married for 3 years. I work full time and have worked full time since we were married. My ex only worked a short period of time because he could not hold a job. After our middle child was born my ex stayed home with the kids because our son needed extra attention due to medical issues. After our son became well I requested that my ex get a job. He never did. Now he is requesting spousal support. Is this legitimate?

    • Dear Jessy:

      I would let a Court decide. The fact pattern is not one that would normally support a request for spousal support. If you are represented by an attorney, please discuss it with her/him. If your husband is asking you to agree, I would not recommend that you do so without first discussing it with counsel. Three years is a short marriage. Although there may be issues related to child support that would factor in whether a deviation from the standard calculation would be appropriate. This would depend on what custody arrangements are made. Therefore, factors other than length of marriage that to be discussed (e.g. whether the tax benefits of spousal support would be more advantageous than a deviation on child support in structuring the best support order).

      Joseph Candito
      Attorney at Law


  21. Harley says:

    My exwife and I divorced after 35+ years of marriage. She had not worked in several years despite promising she would return to work after our child was raised (child was 34 at time of our divorce). During our time of separation she took a training course that would give her an opportunity to work and make a decent living. At the time of the divorce she had completed the course but not yet started working. She lied in court and said she would only make $8-$10 an hour with her training eventhough making $25 an hour in the field is normal with a few years of experience. There was nothing in the decree stating she would have to report her earnings. She went to work immediatly after our divorce hearing. I was ordered to pay $1,050 month spousal support with no ending date. I do have some health issues that may force me to retire from my job (safety concerns) within the next couople of years, if not sooner. This was all mentioned in the wording of the decree which states….

    The defendant shall pay to the plaintiff the sum of $1,050.00 as and for spousal support The factors set forth in Revised Code 3105.19 (C ) have been taken into consideration with specific findings that (a),(b),( c), (*, (e), (i), (k), (1), and (m) weigh in favor of the above award. The Court shall retain jurisdiction to modify the spousal support award. The testimony indicated that there may be changes in the parties’ circumstances including, but not limited to the defendant retiring from his place of employment within the next five (5) years and the fact that the plaintiff may become gainfully employed in the future.

    Does this wording indicate that if I take her back to court perhaps the support could be reduced or stopped if I retire? Also could the fact that she is making much more money than she stated at the divorce hearing help me in the court making that determination? I also wonder if I will have to wait until I actually start retirement to go to court and request the changes or if I can start the proceedings once I have a retirement start date? There is no way I can live off of disability retirement and pay the amount of support I have to pay now.

    • Dear Harley,

      I cannot give you the specific legal advice you will need to take the proper action. You have identified factors the the Court is required to consider in a modification. You should really schedule an appointment with a domestic relations attorney in your area to discuss your options. It will be well worth the consultation fee.

      Joseph Candito

  22. Gloria Youtz says:

    After doing the calculations to determine the amount of alimony, is the monetary amount calculated the amount per year spouse will get from here on or is it one total amount ?

  23. Lowell H says:

    My wife and I started dating February 2008. Our first daughter was born August 2008 and we got married November 2009. Our second daughter was born October 2010. She left me this past November saying that she “just wasn’t in love with me anymore and was ready to move on with her life.” I am on SSI disability and she works a full time job + overtime. Her bring home varies between $900-$1200 every 2 weeks whereas my SSI payment stays the same. I get exactly $721 per month. I am disabled, and obviously unable to work due to a vehicle accident I had in 2009.

    I am fighting for custody of our children partly due to her actions since we have separated…such as sleeping with multiple people (by her own admission) and also the children are always in the care of their 72 year old great-grandmother if my STBex is at work or decides to go out with friends or go visit her boyfriend, just to name a couple.

    I am seeking custody, child support, and spousal support and we go for mediation the end of this month. I was told by the mediator’s office that there is no “calculator” that the courts use to determine spousal support like they do child support so I would need to have a number in mind that I would request for spousal support. My issue is that I have absolutely no idea what amount would be fair for the both of us.

    • Dear Lowell:

      The mediator is correct. Ohio has not yet enacted a spousal support calculator. The above article describes the parameters in which the court makes the spousal support determination. The specifics factors will vary from case to case. That is why it is essential to provide your attorney with all the relevant information that may affect the spousal support determination in your case.

      Joseph Candito

  24. question says:

    Husband left after 9 and 1/2 years of marriage. Wife has been primary earner ($90k/yr). Husband unemployed for 1 year since moving …but is similarly educated (grad degree)…mostly worked part-time during marriage, but full-time jobs are fairly plentiful in his growing profession and start around $70k. He just hasn’t applied for any since moving. No kids in marriage.

    Have been attempting dissolution, although both retained attorneys…and surprise, surprise…attorneys claim vastly different views on ‘reasonable’ spousal support. Wife’s attorney claims support should be zero, saying husband can make nearly equivalent income if he gets a job, which are available. Husbands attorney claims spousal support should be 30%-40% of wifes income for 3 years, since wife has always earned more and husband only worked part-time during marriage.

    Question is NOT what you think is fair for spousal support. Question is: do attorneys in a dissolution have an obligation to work together to produce an equitable spousal support arrangement, using their experience and “what-would-a-judge-do” questions?

    I suspect one or both attorneys are setting unreasonable expectations for their clients, hoping to inflame tension and prod into divorce court… where they can collect much higher litigation fees, knowing from property affidavits clients can afford it.

    So the question is around ethics of attorneys…is it expected they make every effort to come up with an equitable solution and keep clients out of court, since both clients originally expressed this shared desire? All other matters other than spousal support have largely been agreed.

    • Dear lostinohio:

      You ask a very good question. Ideally, attorneys will assist their clients to produce an equitable spousal support arrangement for their clients’ sake, as well as for all involved. Most domestic relations attorneys know that the harm done by an unfair settlement will negatively impact their client as well. However, the attorney’s main obligation is to zealously represent his or her clients. It is not the attorney’s case or life on the line. Client’s have a right to make their own decisions and have their attorney represent them zealously. I say zealously, not foolishly. Obviously, if a client is making unrealistic demands, his/her attorney should “educate” him or her on what the likely outcome would be in court. If the client persists, then the attorney must make a decision as to whether continued representation is possible. Assuming that representation will continue, that is where the Court comes in. You should never be afraid to let the court decide the issue if what is negotiated is not acceptable. Attorneys do not generally “sacrifice” possible settlements just to charge “litigation fees”. This is not cost effective for the attorneys. Most likely one side or the other will see the proposal as unfair. If that is the case, and it really is unfair, then the other party may be making unrealistic demands. Therefore, going to court is the only resolution. Then again, the negotiated result may be an equitable resolution, but one party doesn’t see it as equitable because they don’t want to pay as much support or divide the assets in the way suggested. There again, the court will have to decide. By the way, Husband’s attorney has an argument that many courts will follow, assuming the statutory factors are there.

      Joseph Candito

  25. Simone Seymour says:

    My Husband and I have been married for 15 years and coming up on 16 years in October but been together for almost 20 years., he has informed me he wants a Divorce. We have 3 Boys ages 7,9 and 10. He was in the Army 8 years of our Marriage and then started working in a Factory right after getting out and been working in the same place for 11 1/2 years. I worked the first 3 years of our Marriage until the Army let him go and then another year after he got out cleaning Hotel Rooms, I got Pregnant in 2003 and was considered a High Risk Pregnancy so therefor was ordered to stop working. I became a stay at home Mom since then. I have looked for other jobs once all 3 boys where in School together but to no luck with my husbands work schedule working 11:30pm til 8am and their bus is here at 7:10am so I place them in bed and cook all the meals and clean the home and etc..been there since the day they where born. He wants me to agree to a dissolution in Marriage with not touching his 401k or asking for Alimony if he leaves me the 3 bedroom Single Wide Mobile Home and a car he bought me for $850. He said Child support can run me anywhere from $600-$900 but not a penny more. But all the utilities are in his name. the Cell is in his name and etc. The Electric is almost $200 a month. my phone bill is $45 a month, and car Insurance is $100 a month and Home owners Insurance runs $90 a month and we have city sewer of $40 a month. After Bills are payed there is barely anything left for Groceries.And he wants me to place all the utilities in my name as well which I do not mind but I cant afford them all off of $600 a month. But i do have job applications in my area that I renew online anywhere from every 30 to 90 days, plus my 3 children are ADHD and on medication for it but no Babysitter is willing to take on 3 Children with ADHD and I reside in Logan County, he also has stated he will not pay for any legal fees for myself to get an attorney and he will also fight it tooth and nail and he will also fight if i request Alimony. And make sure I help repay his 401k loan from the Child Support and give him half of our Mobile home’s value that is payed off and in both our names if i push for Alimony and make sure I help repay his 401k loan as well and he wants me to not request any money off of his 401k loan that is left in his 401k plan that he has not borrowed from. He also request that I stay in the Kids’s school district as well and not move. And also threatened if I try to fight in Divorce Court that all will break loose and it will be game on. I really need some advice. If I am a stay at home Mom and no where to go with 3 children, How am i going to give him half of the money value for the Mobile Home and what am I entitled to? He stated that he has fallen out of love with me and he just wants out but is staying every weekend at a female co workers home and does not spent time with the children at all. He comes here to sleep mon-fri and then gets on the computer and plays computer games for hours and then goes back to bed to sleep some more until he has to get up for work. Every weekend when he leaves to stay at her home he does not take the children to do anything. He calls once in a while to tell them to be good and he will see them after they get off of the bus on Monday afternoon but does not do anything with them at home or take them anywhere. But also stated he wants shared parenting and will move out when he has saved up enough money.

    • Dear Simone:

      It would be inappropriate for me to specifically respond to all the issues you raise. You certainly need the assistance of a professional to navigate you through this situation. But there are a few things to note. First, your husband does not set the rules for how property is to be divided and support is to be paid. You don’t have to agree to his demands. Secondly, child support is not to be offset against marital debt or marital assets. The child support is not considered an asset of the parties. It is for the support of the minor children to which they are entitled. I posted a child support calculator on my facebook page, see here: Or here: http://childsupportsoftware.com/

      You should consult with an attorney in your county.

      Joseph Candito

  26. amy says:

    I have been married for 22 1/2 years. I am filing for divorce because my husband is a habitual cheater. He makes 140000 a year and I make around 20000. I have 2 boys…6 and 10. What does that entitle me? And in the next few years his salary will likely be over 240000. Can your a spousal agreement change when he is paid more?

    • Dear Amy:

      It would seem that you are a candidate for spousal and child support. You need to discuss the specifics with an attorney in your area. Spousal support can be modified IF the Court retains jurisdiction to modify either the length or the amount of spousal support or both. The modification would be based on a change of circumstances since the original order. Your attorney can make the argument for the Court to retain jurisdiction to make the appropriate modification.

      Joseph Candito


  27. Valerie says:

    After 20 years of marriage my husband has resumed drinking. Its not casual or occasional 🙁
    and frankly, he scares me.
    I am 53 and have been self employed for 15 years. By the time deductions set in, this year, I ended up “making” under $4000. Last year, I made $20,000 (after deductions) this is the story over the 15 years – up and down as far as my income is concerned. He makes $40 to $45,000. a year and his money is stable. I’ve kept my business running because if I didn’t work for myself, I’d be on disability. I have emphysema, fibromyalgia, and a really bad back (spinal fusion gone wrong). If I could, I’d be happy to go back to a traditional job. But I have bad days that sometimes run into weeks and good days that aren’t so frequent. Usually before deductions it looks like I bring in $30,000.
    I’ve been trying to stay because I just don’t know if I could
    afford to support myself. We didn’t have children together.
    And the house we are in is upside down because we bought right before the cost of housing hit its lows.
    Would I be a candidate for spousal support?
    How does retirement benefits work? Would I get this
    money upfront or would I have to wait till we are at retirement age?
    Also, he has quite a few hefty savings accounts in his name only, would I receive part of this?
    I sound greedy 🙁
    which isn’t the case … as I surely didn’t want to get divorced and be alone at 53 years old. I love the sober him … but it seems that “him” is less & less 🙁
    Thank you for any insight.

    • Dear Valerie:

      It would not be appropriate for me to give you any specific advice online in your situation. These are questions you need to discuss with your attorney.

      Joseph Candito

  28. Jordan Miller says:

    My wife and I married 4 months ago When we married she was on a visitors visa for 6 months. Since she is a foreign national I thought she was entering marriage in good faith Luckily for me just before I filed her immigration residency I realized that her sole motive for marrying me was to secure permanent residency in addition to other problems we had. I immediately filed for divorce ( and also did not sponsor her immigration residency application )and surprisingly she is now filing for spousal support because she knows my salary is 6 figures. We have absolutely NO martial assets. All my assets are premarital and well documented. What are my chances of fighting of the request for temporary support as she is unable to work because her visitors visa restricts that ability which could only have been possible if I had stupidly filed for immigration benefits. We have no children today. What are the chances of fighting this request in ohio courts

  29. Jordan Miller says:

    I was married for 4 1/2 months and filing for divorce. My wife is a foreigner who was on a 6 months visitors visa My marriage crumbled after I realized that her true intentions for marriage was use me to secure legal permanent residency amongst other problems that we had in the brief marriage. Now she is seeking temporary spousal support. I am in the process of contesting her request. Need some legal advice of whether she can be entitled to spousal support after just 4 1/2 months of marriage. Additionally considering the fact that she is unable to secure employment due to her visa restrictions and also due to the fact that I refused to sponsor her legal residency applications once I realized that she did enter the marriage in good faith. Any advice will be helpful. There are also NO martial assets involved. Thanks

    • Dear Jordan:

      You may want to discuss whether you are entitled to an annulment. If there was a fraudulent intent, you may be better off having the court declare that your marriage was null and void. This means that there was no legal marriage. Discuss this option with your attorney.

      Joseph Candito

  30. Mark Miller says:

    Hello, thank you for answering my question,

    My and I were married in 2007, but separated in December 2011. Child support for my 2 kids has been established since January 2012. Recently, I approached her about a dissolution, she says she is going through through hard time and would like spousal support. I told her that i felt since we both have lived apart for over 2 years, I shouldn’t have to pay any spousal support. She disagreed saying that we are technically still married.

    Facts to consider, the reason we separated was because she refused to work throughout the 4 years of marriage, which eventually frustrated me as we had total 4 children ( including 2 from her prior marriage), we were living paycheck to paycheck with my sole income of 43k/year, and we were bouncing checks left and right. I had to file for bankruptcy in 2010 and she really didn’t care. After our separation, she was living off child support, SS benefits from my step kid. She also got help with medicaid and food stamp. Now, that my step kid moved on after turning 18 (no more SSI check), she has fallen on hard time and moved back with her mother.

    My fear is that she will awarded spousal support on top of child supp that I am already paying her.

    Any insight is greatly appreciated it.

    • Dear Mark:

      The factors you identified would certainly support an argument against having to pay spousal support especially in what seems to be a relatively short marriage. However, your Wife is right about the fact that the spousal support is still on the table. The Ohio Revised Code requires that the Court define the term “during the marriage” for purposes of spousal support and property division. The Court has discretion to determine that the marriage “end date” to be the “de facto” termination of the marriage when the parties separate if they do not move back in with each other. But the Court is not bound to make that determination. Certainly the length of time the two of you have been separated will be a factor in whether spousal support is reasonable and necessary.

      You are right to believe that if spousal support is order, it will be in addition to your child support. However, the spousal support will be included in the child support worksheet as additional income available to your wife and a deduction from your income. My recommendation is to get yourself a domestic relations attorney to help settle this matter. In your case, it may be better for you to let the Court decide the issue in a divorce action rather than agree to spousal support in a dissolution of marriage. But this is a determination you should make with the help of a skilled domestic relations attorney.

      Joseph Candito
      Attorney at Law


  31. Erin briggs says:

    If a person is paying $6000 a month in alimony and they find out the person is working along with that alimony can it be deducted from the alimony they owe the Ex obtained the job after the court order of alimony

    • Dear Erin:

      No, if the order for spousal support is 6,000.00 per month, the payor cannot reduce the amount without a new court order. Assuming that the Court retained jurisdiction to modify the spousal support, the payor should look into filing a Motion to Modify the spousal support if it was originally ordered when the recipient was not earning income. But discuss this matter with an attorney first. Just because one of the parties may be making more income than he/she was at the time of the order, does not always mean that the modification will be to lower the income. If the recipient is making 10,000.00 more per year but the person paying the income has had an even more significant increase, the modification could result in an increase in spousal support.

      Joseph Candito

  32. Brian Iverson says:

    Hello. My now ex wife is permanently disabled and has been for all but 7 years of our 33 yr marriage. She told me she was out of love with me and killed my heart. 3 yrs later I decided to leave and she sued me for divorce. At the end she asked me to stop the divorce because she ‘needed my insurance for some upcoming surgery’. It took me 5 yrs to to save enough money to file for divorce. ( we have not lived together for 6 yrs). She makes more in her disability than I make a month. I barely make enough money to even live. The judge didn’t care and ordered me to pay 250.00 a month for 6 yrs. I told them I didn’t have the money and the judge said if I didn’t agree I would be in contempt and thrown in jail. I am not trying to get out of paying. I DONT have it!! What do I do? My Atty in the divorce didn’t seem very helpful or even cared to be. I need some advice!
    Thank you

    • Dear Brian:

      It would not be appropriate for me to give you legal advice through this forum. You need to discuss this matter in detail with your attorney. There are many factors that the Judge will consider in determining the appropriate level of spousal support. You need to bring out these details to your attorney.

      Joseph Candito
      Attorney at Law

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