Information about Spousal Support

Ohio uses the term "spousal support" when referring to an allowance of money or property that is not intended as a division of marital property. Ohio's current law defines spousal support as "the payment or payments to be made to a spouse or former spouse that is both for sustenance and for support of the spouse or former spouse."

The court may order spousal support in a divorce action (including temporary spousal support during the time the divorce action is pending), or in an action for support only (i.e. a spouse may request only that the court order spousal support while not requesting that the court terminate the marriage, sometimes referred to as a "legal separation").

Ohio law requires that a married person support his or her spouse. Spousal support is an allowance for nourishment or sustenance which the court may compel one spouse to pay to the other when they are living apart or have been divorced. While spousal support, whether temporary support during the pendency of the divorce action ("spousal support pendente lite," also commonly referred to as "temporary alimony") or permanent (regardless of the actual length of time) is ordinarily granted to the wife, Ohio law provides that in appropriate cases, spousal support may be granted to the husband.

An award of spousal support pendente lite is discretionary with the court. The court may include in a temporary spousal support award expenses for such items as housing (i.e. rent or mortgage payment), food, medical expenses, transportation and attorney fees. A temporary spousal support award automatically terminates after a divorce,  annulment or legal separation decree has been entered.

With regard to a temporary spousal support award, there is no precise formula for determining the amount that will be awarded. The court must use its judicial discretion and take into consideration the ability to pay of the party who is to be paying the temporary spousal support and the present needs of the party to whom the temporary spousal support is to be paid. In determining whether spousal support is appropriate and reasonable, and in determining the amount, terms of payment and duration or spousal support, the court must consider the following factors:

· Income and relative earning abilities of the parties;

· Ages and physical, mental and emotional conditions of the parties;

· Length of the marriage;

· Standard of living established during the marriage;

· Extent to which it would be inappropriate for the custodian of a child to seek work outside the home;

· Educational back ground of the parties;

· Property and debts of the parties, including any court-ordered payments;

· Contribution of each party to the education, training or earning ability of the other;

· Time and expense needed for the person seeking spousal support to acquire education, training or job experience;

· Lost income production capacity of either party resulting form that party’s marriage responsibilities; or

· Tax consequences for each party of an award of spousal support.


The court any also consider any other factor that it finds to relevant and fair.

Henry County Family Court