Protecting Your Rights In Spousal Support Matters

While the IRS still calls it “alimony,” the courts prefer the term “spousal support.” Spousal support may be temporary, short term or long term depending on a number of statutory factors that the court must consider.

Spousal support may be granted for a specific purpose, i.e., for education to qualify for certain jobs. It can also be granted on a permanent basis until the spouse receiving support dies, remarries or starts living with another person.

Even with permanent spousal support, the court can still keep ongoing jurisdiction over your case and can reconsider and amend the support amount upon a change of circumstances.

The person who pays the spousal support may be entitled to income tax deductions if the proper requirements are met.

For additional information, refer to Tax Topic 452, Alimony Paid (this topic covers alimony under decrees or agreements after 1984) and Publication 504, Divorced or Separated Individuals.

Some statutory factors reviewed when the court considers whether spousal support is appropriate are:

  • 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 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 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

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