How long does spousal support last after an Ohio divorce?

On Behalf of | Jul 21, 2023 | Spousal Support

The financial considerations of divorce often leave people feeling trapped in unhealthy and unfulfilling marriages. Especially when someone has been the primary wage earner for their family and has a spouse who stayed home to take care of the household or the family’s children, the idea that there could be ongoing financial obligations may deter someone from pursuing the best future possible.

In Ohio, awards for financial support during divorce litigation and after a divorce decree are referred to as spousal support, not alimony. How long will one spouse generally need to make support payments to the other after an Ohio divorce?

Every scenario requiring support is different

Although people expect a very black-and-white approach to financial matters during divorce, the truth is that the process of establishing spousal support is more complex than they understand. Such support is not automatic. Someone will have to request it and submit documentation to the courts affirming their need for support, as well as the ability of their spouse to pay it.

A judge reviewing one spouse’s request for support would need to consider numerous factors, including how long the marriage lasted, the professional history of each spouse, child custody arrangements and even the separate property of the spouses. Often, spousal support is a temporary or rehabilitative form of financial aid. One spouse will only receive payment for a set number of months so that they can develop their career and improve their earning potential.

However, there are limited scenarios in which the courts might award permanent spousal support. These include scenarios in which the dependent spouse has disabling health conditions or primary custody of a child with medical conditions that will prevent them from living independently. Additionally, those who divorce after decades of marriage and during the retirement stage of life may have permanent support on the table during their negotiations.

For most couples, spousal support is a temporary obligation that ends on a date outlined in the documents or when the marital or economic circumstances of the spouse receiving support change. Understanding the rules that govern spousal support determinations in Ohio may help people feel better prepared for divorce proceedings and the financial reality of rebuilding their lives afterward.