Cleveland Alimony Lawyer

Deciding to end your marriage is stressful enough. But the situation can quickly become complicated when you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse begin discussing issues relating to your marital finances. Spousal support, at times referred to as “alimony,” is a series of payments made from one spouse to another to provide needed financial support during or after a divorce or dissolution.

Alimony payments aim to ensure both spouses can pay for the costs related to maintaining a lifestyle similar to the one they had before the divorce. The issue of alimony can become a battle for many couples. That is why the spousal support attorneys at Slater & Zurz are here to help.

With over four decades of experience helping divorcing couples through the often difficult process, we know precisely how to quickly, effectively, and amicably resolve all matters relating to divorce, including spousal maintenance, child custody and support, and property division.

Call (440) 557-2861 to arrange a FREE, confidential case review with a top spousal support lawyer in Cleveland.

Types of Alimony in Ohio

In Ohio, courts issue two types of spousal support orders: temporary and permanent.

Temporary support typically begins when a couple initiates the divorce process. A spouse can ask the court for a temporary spousal support order to be put in effect while they go through the process of getting a divorce or dissolution of marriage. This helps them maintain their way of living while they iron out the details of the divorce.

Permanent spousal support does not refer to a support order that continues indefinitely. Instead, permanent spousal support orders are put in place once the divorce is final and can be either short-term or long-term arrangements. In other words, a permanent support order details payments to be made for a certain amount and for a set period of time – or until a judge orders otherwise.

A permanent order is typically issued when one spouse is not able to support themselves. For example, if one spouse leaves their job to raise a family or help the other spouse advance his or her career, it will likely be difficult for that spouse to return to the workforce and earn a similar living. In this situation, a permanent alimony arrangement will provide enough financial assistance to the spouse to acquire the needed training and earnings to become financially independent.

Determining Alimony in Cleveland, Ohio

Unlike child support, Ohio courts do not use specific formulas or guidelines when determining the amount or duration of alimony payments. However, they do consider many factors, including:

  • All income sources for both spouses
  • The property was divided in the divorce
  • Each spouse’s earning capacity
  • The age and health (mental, emotional, and physical) of each spouse
  • Retirement benefits of each spouse
  • How long the couple was married
  • The couple’s standard of living during their marriage
  • Whether one spouse has custody of their minor children and is unable to work outside of the home
  • The highest level of education for each spouse
  • The assets and debts of each spouse
  • Whether a spouse contributed as a homemaker and has a decreased earning capacity as a result
  • Whether one spouse assisted the other in receiving education, training, a professional degree, or increased income during their marriage
  • The time and expense required for a spouse to receive education, training, or job experience to obtain sufficient employment
  • Spousal support’s effect on each spouse’s taxes
  • Any other factor deemed relevant

Need help with alimony or other divorce-related matter? Call Slater & Zurz to set up a FREE consultation. (440) 557-2861

How Long Alimony Lasts

The purpose of spousal support is to allow both spouses the financial means to live a similar standard of living to what they had during their marriage. The length of their marriage plays a critical role in determining the amount and duration of the spousal support order.

Although there are no set standards for determining the length of the spousal support order, some general rules are followed by Ohio courts. Typically, alimony isn’t considered when the couple has been married for less than five years. Courts also generally do not consider lifetime spousal support unless the couple was married for over 25 years.

When support is deemed acceptable yet lifetime support is not warranted, courts typically award spousal support for a duration equal to one-third of the length of the couple’s marriage. For example, if a couple is married for 15 years, support will likely be awarded for a five-year term.

It is important to keep in mind that the amount and duration of a spousal support order is awarded at the court’s discretion. That is why it is critical to have a skilled alimony attorney on your side who can show the judge factors that support the ideal duration and amount of support.

Modifying Spousal Support in Cleveland, Ohio

Although courts try to anticipate future events when establishing a spousal support order, sometimes significant changes in either spouse’s situation warrant a modification of alimony. The supported spouse may also reach the point where they no longer are in need of the amount of support ordered.

In these situations, either spouse can ask the court to modify the existing spousal support order to better suit the spouse’s new position. To request a modification, a motion must be filed with the local court requesting a change. In court, both sides will have a chance to explain and support their positions, and should the judge feel a change in the support order is warranted, they will issue a modification.

Enforcing a Cleveland, Ohio Alimony Order

When the courts establish a spousal support order, the paying spouse must abide by its details. When a paying spouse does not make the required payments, a recipient can ask the court to find the other party in contempt of court.

Should the recipient show proof their former spouse is not paying the ordered support payments, the court will order the paying spouse to either pay it in full or pay the past due amount within a certain time frame in order to avoid jail time.

Collection Methods

As part of the contempt order, the receiving party can request the money be withheld from the paying spouse’s paycheck. Other methods include suspending the ex-spouse’s driver’s license or professional licensing until the past due amount is paid in full. Bank account funds, tax returns, lottery winnings, rental income, or other income may also be seized.

Speak to a Cleveland alimony attorney for FREE. Call (440) 557-2861 today.

Frequently Asked Questions About Ohio Alimony
If your spouse is not paying court-ordered alimony, he or she is violating a court order. You can file a motion asking the court to order your former spouse to pay. This is sometimes referred to as a motion for enforcement or contempt. A judge can also order the seizure of your ex’s property to pay the debt or order their employer to withhold income to pay the past-due support.
In a divorce or legal separation, spouses can create an agreement that details the terms of a spousal support arrangement which the courts will typically honor. However, spousal support isn’t required in Ohio. So, when a couple can’t agree, a judge must decide whether a spouse qualifies for spousal support. If they find it is warranted, they must also choose how much and for how long.
Unlike child support, there are no specific guidelines for spousal support or alimony. Spouses must demonstrate a need for financial assistance and show their spouse’s ability to pay for that assistance. Once the need for support and the ability to pay is established, the courts will look at several factors, including each spouse’s income and the couple’s length of marriage to determine the amount of support.

Experienced Alimony Lawyers in Cleveland, Ohio

Financial stability during and after a divorce is often difficult for spouses, especially when they gave up their career to help raise their children or assist their spouse in furthering their career.

At Slater & Zurz, we understand that alimony is often one of the most highly debated and emotional aspects of a divorce. That is why we work hard to skillfully represent our client’s best interests and fight hard to secure the financial support they need and deserve. We are also aware that there are times when our clients need help defending against a soon-to-be ex-spouse fighting to get an unfair, financially-crippling amount of support. Whether you are in need of spousal support or want to ensure you aren’t ordered to pay an unreasonable amount of alimony, our Cleveland alimony attorneys can help. Take the first step in protecting your rights by calling (440) 557-2861 today to arrange a FREE, confidential consultation.