First of all, “alimony” and “spousal support” are one in the same. Ohio changed the term to “spousal support” years ago. However, the IRS and Federal Government continued to call these types of payments and obligations “alimony.” Here are some questions and answers concerning various issues in Ohio regarding alimony or spousal support. Based upon the experience our firm has had in cases dealing with alimony and spousal support, it can easily be said that this is a “sensitive” area for most people, especially a person who thinks that she/he may have to pay alimony (spousal support). Here are some thoughts about alimony and spousal support in Ohio:
Alimony and Spousal Support in Ohio
Can I Deduct Spousal Support Payments or Do I Have to Include Them in My Income If I’m Receiving Them?
Under any newly issued spousal support Order (after the tax changes under the Trump administration), the answer is “no.” Before the changes regarding the tax law, brought about under the Trump Administration, spousal support was deductible to the payor and includable in the income of the recipient. This is no longer the case.
Is There a “Formula” for Alimony?
The formula (which is “rule of thumb” rather than statutory — so far) goes something like this:
1/3 of the marriage, unless the marriage is “long term” like 22 years or more (in our opinion), can be longer or shorter based upon other factors including but not limited to the health of the parties).
Usually modifiable with changes of circumstances like injury, disability retirement, etc.
For long term marriages usually something like “equalization on an after-tax basis” so, very simply put*:
Wife makes 100k and has tax of 40k so nets 60k
And Husband makes 60k and has tax of 20k so nets 40k
Difference is 20 so, in this instance, she would pay him 10k per year under an “equalization” situation.
However, the parties, even with the numbers above could agree that the wife pays the husband 30k and that it is permanent (even if he remarries or cohabitates) and it is non-modifiable, etc.
So, as in anything else, there is the way the court most probably will do things but then the court will not prevent people from making an agreement that is nowhere near what the court would do.
What Does the Court Consider?
The court usually considers things like:
- Need for training to get new position
- Length of marriage
- Need for more education
- Support of one spouse during the marriage while the other completed his/her education
- Income from assets
- And other things provided for in the Ohio statutes regarding spousal support/alimony
Income considered should be real income and “gross” income so it would include non-taxable income (like money put into retirement) and it would also include income that was deducted for “depreciation purposes” in most cases.
So, the court takes the net, adds back in money put into pre-tax retirement funds and also adds back money deducted for depreciation and gets the real “gross” income to start dealing with—actual money in the pocket.
There are other factors the courts will consider and what a “Court” will do may also depend upon whether you have a Judge or Magistrate deciding an issue and also, “which” Judge or Magistrate may be deciding the issue.
Is There a Difference Between “Temporary” and Final Spousal Support Orders?
Temporary Orders are issued “during a case” or while the case is pending. They last until the final Order is issued by the court. In regard to spousal support, these Temporary Orders may be much less than the final Orders issued by the court for Spousal Support. Temporary Orders may be intended to “support” a spouse while the case is pending and help him/her pay bills etc. but may not resemble final spousal support Orders at all.
If you have questions concerning a spousal support issue in Ohio, whether they relate to an existing Order or a potential temporary Order in a case, or a potential final Order in a case, consult with a knowledgeable attorney who is familiar with the Judge, Magistrate and Court involved or to potentially be involved.