For most people, addressing the financial implications is one of the most important aspects of their divorce. This is completely understandable. Regardless of how long you have been married, transitioning into a new life on your own is wrought with uncertainties, and the last thing you want is to suddenly find yourself unable to support the lifestyle to which you’ve grown accustomed and provide for your children.
As a result, when we meet with new clients, some of the most common questions we get asked have to do with calculating child support and spousal support (also known as alimony). While we can’t address your specific circumstances without getting to know you, there are certain general principles that apply in all Ohio divorces. If you are preparing for a divorce, here is a brief overview of the laws that apply to calculating child support and spousal support in Ohio:
Calculating Child Support in Ohio
In Ohio (as in most states), child support calculations are, in most cases, made according to a statutory formula. Like child custody laws, child support laws focus on protecting the best interests of the children, and to help ensure that each child receives the financial support he or she needs, the law generally mandates that both parents continue to contribute financially following their divorce.
Ohio’s child support formula considers a number of different factors; however, two of the primary drivers in child support determinations are:
- The parents’ respective incomes and custody rights, and
- The children’s financial needs.
With respect to the children’s financial needs, Ohio law applies a basic child support schedule. However, unique expenses and any special needs may factor in as well.
Read more in our Child Support FAQs.
Calculating Spousal Support in Ohio
Spousal support, simply put, is different. When it comes to spousal support, there is no statutory formula, and there are a number of different factors that go into determining both (i) which spouse (if either) should be obligated to pay, and (ii) if spousal support is appropriate, how much and for how long.
In many cases, the calculation of spousal support will be made in connection with the overall financial allocation in a couple’s divorce. When divorcing spouses are able to work out their differences amicably (for example, through negotiation, mediation, or collaborative divorce), spousal support will often be a part of a broader discussion involving property division, debt allocation, tax consequences, and a variety of other financial matters.
Read more in our Spousal Support FAQs.
Key Differences Between Child Support and Spousal Support
In order to understand how the Ohio courts and divorcing couples typically address questions of child support and alimony, it can be helpful to focus on the differences between these two forms of financial support. Three of the key differences between child support and spousal support in Ohio are:
- Method of Calculation. While child support calculations involve application of a statutory formula, spousal support awards are based upon a balancing of factors relating to each spouse’s earning capacity and financial needs.
- Child support awards are intended to serve the best interests of the children involved. At a high level, this means ensuring that each child has adequate access to nutrition, medical care, education, and activities that help support healthy development. Spousal support, on the other hand, can serve different purposes. These include providing basic support (for example, while a divorce is pending), allowing a former spouse to gain the education or training necessary to become self-supporting, and maintaining the lifestyle enjoyed during the couple’s marriage.
- Child support obligations generally end when a child turns 18 (though they can end sooner or last longer under varying circumstances). By contrast, there is no set rule for the duration of alimony. The duration of spousal support, if any, is determined on a case-by-case basis.
Speak with a Cleveland, OH Divorce Lawyer at Laubacher & Co.
If you would like more information about calculating child support or spousal support in your divorce, we invite you to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. To get started, call our Cleveland, OH law offices at (855) 701-1004 or request an appointment online today.
Photo via flickr by Michael Ignatieff