Spousal Support Lawyer in Columbus
Spousal support or alimony is an arrangement whereby one former spouse pays money to the other. In Ohio, the obligation to pay spousal support lies with the party that earns a higher income. Initially, men paid spousal support to their ex-wives, but things have since changed because more women are the primary income earners in their families.
Alimony helps the receiving spouse maintain the standard of living they enjoyed during the marriage. When you and your spouse decide to divorce, one of your main worries will be determining a suitable amount of alimony. Therefore, it’s best to have a fair alimony agreement whether you’re a working or stay-at-home spouse.
During this difficult period, you can trust the family law practitioners at the Law Office of Dmitriy Borshchak to handle all your spousal support matters. We are committed to making the divorce process seamless to ensure you maintain your financial stability. You can count on a spousal support attorney on our team for top-notch legal advice and representation to secure what you deserve.
What's the Purpose of Alimony Payments?
Spousal support ensures that the higher-earning party supports the lower-earning party. It helps the latter maintain a semblance of the lifestyle they enjoyed during the marriage. Under Ohio law, alimony payments aren’t automatic in a divorce.
Although a spouse is entitled to request spousal support, it doesn’t mean that the court will order it. Suppose you and your spouse are in a similar earning bracket. The chances of either party getting spousal support are slim. That cannot be said of couples whose incomes vary significantly.
Contact an experienced, personal family law attorney today.
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Who Qualifies for Alimony in Ohio?
The idea behind spousal support payments is to compensate either of the divorcing spouses for loss of wages or reduced earning ability. In recent years, alimony has primarily become an equitability issue. Previously, few women worked outside the home, especially if they had children.
Mothers with no job and children to raise faced financial ruin if their former spouses weren’t’ required to provide spousal or child support to cover living expenses. In today’s employment landscape, more women work, and some even out-earn their husbands. Moreover, some men chose to stay at home and raise their children.
For this reason, spousal support is no longer about women. Men may also be eligible for alimony payments because gender roles in marriages have evolved. Typically, the former spouse who makes spousal support also pays child support, thanks to their higher earning capacity.
How Does Alimony Work?
Each divorce case is different, and many factors come into play when determining spousal support. The alimony payments can either be agreed to by the divorcing couples or court-ordered. Unlike child support, which is uniform throughout the state, courts have more discretion when determining alimony payments. In Ohio, alimony orders vary from one county to another. An experienced Columbus spousal support attorney can provide a general idea of the spousal support payments that courts in your area typically order.
Factors That Determine Alimony Payments
Ohio courts often consider several factors when determining spousal support payments. The factors fall under Ohio R.C. 31508.18 and include:
- Each party’s income and earning ability.
- The divorcing spouses’ age and physical condition.
- Their retirement benefits.
- The education and training that the petitioning party requires to obtain appropriate employment.
- The parties’ relative education level.
- The duration of their marriage.
- The parties’ relative assets and liability.
- Their standard of living during the marriage.
The length of the marriage and the divorcing spouses are the main factors upon which alimony payments are based. For instance, a marriage of thirty years or more may have income equalization or half of the difference in the divorcing parties’ income. Conversely, a five-year marriage may result in an alimony order that’s roughly 20 to 25% of the parties’ difference in income.
Factors such as the parties’ lifestyle during the marriage can also affect alimony payments. The exact amount that the court will order primarily depends on the duration of the marriage and the divorcing parties’ income differences.
Types of Alimony Payments
One of the questions that will run through your mind when you engage a spousal support attorney in Columbus, OH., is the type of alimony payments you can receive. In Ohio, two types of alimony payments are recognized by law: temporary and permanent spousal support.
Temporary Spousal Support
Temporary alimony payments are made before and during the divorce proceedings. One spouse may be ordered to make alimony payments while the divorce is underway or pending. The arrangement doesn’t necessarily mean the support will continue when the divorce gets finalized.
Permanent Spousal Support
Permanent spousal support gets ordered when the divorce gets finalized. It may involve a one-time transfer of assets or monthly payments. Nonetheless, “permanent” doesn’t automatically mean that spousal support will continue forever. Instead, it implies that the court makes the lasting and ultimate decision on the matter.
After the court pronounces itself, one of the divorcing parties may request a modification to the permanent alimony order via a separate proceeding. This gets done with the presumption that the court retains jurisdiction to modify the alimony payments.
Modification of Alimony Payments
One of the questions that run through many people’s minds during divorce is whether alimony payments can get modified.
Well, that depends on the circumstances of the case. In Ohio, a court’s ability to modify a spousal support order primarily hinges on whether the original order’s terms allow a modification of the alimony obligations. If the original court order states that the support obligations can get modified in the future, the court will determine the couple’s present circumstances to rule whether a modification is necessary.
Similarly, if the initial ruling doesn’t state that the obligation can’t get modified, it will stay as such. In such cases, Ohio courts often consider whether there is a change in the parties’ circumstances, including income before ruling whether a modification is appropriate.
The primary reasons for alimony modification include a significant change in either party’s income or the receiving party’s cohabitation. Also, if the person receiving alimony or either party dies, the payments will stop automatically.
How Long Do Alimony Payments Last?
The duration of the alimony payments varies depending on the circumstances of each case. Alimony orders are also case-specific, so it’s difficult to determine how long the alimony payments will last in your case. In most cases, there are several complex issues to address before alimony orders get issued.
A case in point is when a couple in a short-lived marriage decides to divorce. In such cases, the alimony payments will most likely last for as long as the case is pending. When the divorce gets finalized, the chances are that the alimony payments will also stop.
Conversely, the longer the marriage, the longer alimony payments may last. Besides determining the duration of alimony payments, other circumstances may lead to an earlier termination of spousal support. For this reason, it’s best to consult a family law practitioner at the Law Office of Dmitriy Borshchak to discuss your legal options.
Alimony Payments and Tax Obligations: Is Alimony Taxable?
When seeking spousal support, you will want to know how your tax obligations will change. Thanks to the recent amendments to the federal tax law, the Federal tax impacts of divorce are not as considerable as they used to be. According to the amended tax law, alimony is no longer deductible from the paying party’s income for tax purposes.
Moreover, alimony isn’t considered taxable income to the receiving party. Even so, the amended tax law only applies to alimony orders issued after January 1, 2019. If you have an alimony order issued before the new law got enacted, the support will still be deductible from the payor’s income. It will also be considered taxable income for you.
It’s best to remember that the IRS definition of alimony excludes certain payments, including:
Can a Working Spouse Seek Alimony?
One of the contentious during divorce is whether a working individual should seek alimony. Suppose the divorcing parties work full-time and wonder whether the judge will order alimony payments. Well, the spousal support orders will depend on different factors.
Your spouse may still be entitled to request alimony payments even if they have a full-time job. Furthermore, they can request spousal support once the divorce or legal separation gets filed. If the judge considers it necessary, they can order either spouse to make alimony payments even when the divorce is pending.
Don't Face Divorce Alone
The divorce process can be overwhelming, and you need all the support you can get, especially when money matters come into play. A spousal support attorney at the Law Office of Dmitriy Borshchak in Columbus can help you navigate the process.
We know the financial implications of a divorce, so we’re committed to providing the knowledgeable and passionate legal representation needed to secure your financial future. Contact us to discuss your case with one of our attorneys.