A divorce court does not always order spousal support when an Ohio couple splits up. Very short marriages often do not include spousal support requirements, for instance.
However, when deciding whether an order is appropriate, many factors, beyond the parties' assets and current incomes, come into play. The Ohio Revised Code requires the court to consider a list of factors.
Earning capacities and stay-at-home parenting issue
For instance, the court will look at the spouses' respective capacities to earn. However, when so considering, it must also consider the situation of one parent not working due to caring for a young child and whether it would be inappropriate to seek employment. If it would be, the court may refrain from considering that parent's earning capacity for a set period of time.
Age, health, education
It will consider the ages of the spouses as well as their states of health, both mental and physical. It will look at parties' respective levels of education. These factors are material to determining each party's relative ability to be self-sufficient or partially so. To that end, the court will also look at all income from all sources, to the parties.
Lifestyle of marriage and duration
The court must review the lifestyle or standard of living that the spouses enjoyed while married as well as how long their marriage was. If one party lost some of his or her earning potential due to fulfilling marital responsibilities, the court will evaluate that loss. This could include years out of the workforce due to caring for children of the marriage. If a spouse had a college degree but did not use it for enhanced job earnings because he or she did not work due to child-rearing, 15 years later, that degree may have a much-depleted value.
On the flip side, the court must also consider whether one or both parties contributed to the advanced education and enhanced earning power of the other party. This could include monetary payments as well as actions in promoting that education.
Assets and debts
The court must also consider both assets and liabilities of both parties. A party's retirement benefit or savings is a relevant consideration on the asset side, while court-ordered financial obligations are also material.
With regard to the party seeking the support, if that party is seeking further training or education in order to secure suitable employment, the court will evaluate the cost that would be incurred for that party to gain that education or training.