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How Ohio courts make spousal maintenance decisions

In today's society, where Wheaton marriages commonly include two working spouses, some people feel financial support for an ex is unnecessary. You've probably heard former spouses refer to alimony as a type of post-marital reward, but that's not why spousal maintenance exists. Even when both spouses work during marriage, their individual financial statuses are often disparate – something that can become glaringly clear during divorce.

Spousal support seeks to balance the financial circumstances of couples as they exit marriage. Alimony can be temporary -- for example, until an ex has sufficient education or employment training to self-support. Permanent spousal maintenance is less likely now than in the past, since fewer spouses today are entirely dependent upon another spouse's income.

FindLaw reports each state has its own laws dealing with alimony. Illinois courts base alimony decisions on several factors, not the least of which is a former spouse's ability to make support payments. The potential recipient also must have a legitimate need for support before spousal maintenance is considered.

A judge may decide alimony is necessary to allow exes to maintain a standard of living similar to the one they had as a couple. A period of months or years may be set to allow a financially deficient spouse to get on their feet. Support can be long term when ex-spouses are unable to return to, upgrade or start a career due to age or poor health conditions.

The length of time an ex receives alimony also can depend upon how long a couple was married. Our alimony webpage details instances when courts decide to make alimony short- or long-term.

Divorcing Ohio couples can work out the terms of a spousal support agreement or put the matter in the hands of a court. An attorney will assist with an assessment of support needs and help payers and recipients negotiate a workable amount.

Source: Fawell & Fawell Ltd, "Fawekk & Fawell Ltd: Alimony" Aug. 26, 2014

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