What Determines If a Woman Gets Alimony?

When the topic of divorce is brought up, many people also think about alimony or spousal support. Alimony is a monthly payment made to the lower-earning spouse to provide for basic needs, such as shelter, for a predetermined period of time. However, not all women seeking a divorce in Ohio may be awarded alimony. Fortunately, a skilled divorce attorney for women can help you make a case to receive fair alimony payments.

What Determines If a Woman Gets Alimony?

Typically, the length of your payments and the amount of your payments are made with formulaic calculations set by state legislation. Your legal counsel will help you gather relevant financial information, including information about resources and assets, to determine if you will have alimony payments.

Of course, while alimony or spousal support is commonly related to many divorce settlements, there are specific criteria that must be met to receive alimony. The court will examine the information detailed in your divorce paperwork and consider other marriage factors to finalize your expected spousal support payments. Some criteria considered by Ohio courts include:

Length of Marriage

In Ohio, spousal support payments are generally not even considered unless the marriage has lasted for at least five years. If you have been married for less than five years, you are likely not eligible for alimony payments, although you can always ask your legal counsel to examine your case to determine whether or not your case is an exception.

In general, the length of your marriage will also be used to determine how long your spousal support payments will continue. For example, some judges award one year of payments for every three years of marriage; if you’ve been married for nine years, then you will receive three years of spousal support. Other aspects of your case may change the length of time you can expect your payments to last.

Wages or Earning Potential

Both your wages and the wages of your ex-spouse will be used to determine if you get alimony and how much your payments will be. If you earn less than your ex-spouse and you have met other qualifications, then you may be more likely to receive alimony. This is also true if your overall earning potential is significantly less than your ex-spouse, which may also factor into the exact amount of your spousal support payments.

The goal of the court is to make up for the gap in income differences after a divorce based on the current income of the higher-earning spouse. Generally, 10% to 15% of the higher-earning spouse’s income will be ordered for alimony for marriages lasting longer than five to ten years. Very long marriages may have spousal support orders that equalize the income of both spouses, with higher-earning spouses paying up to 50% of their wages for alimony payments.

Marriage Circumstances

Certain circumstances in your marriage may also determine whether or not you get alimony. For example, spouses who gave up their own careers to take care of children are more likely to be awarded spousal support, along with child support, since leaving the workforce would affect your overall earning potential.

However, marriage circumstances like adultery or abuse will not be used to calculate any support payments or asset division; rather, these circumstances may generate punitive damages separate from alimony payments. Your legal representative can provide you with more information if your marriage circumstances were unusual, dangerous, or abusive.

Other Factors Considered in Ohio

An experienced divorce attorney for women will understand each of the factors outlined in Ohio state laws that are used to calculate spousal support. These factors can include the age, physical condition, current income, projected earning ability, retirement benefits, education, training, assets, and liabilities of each spouse. While these are the most common factors considered, the court may look at additional factors if your case has unique circumstances.

Why Your Gender Doesn’t Matter

Although many people assume spousal support is only given to women, the truth is that both genders can be awarded spousal support. Alimony may be more common for women, but because more women are in the workforce and potentially earning more than male partners, a woman may pay an ex-spouse alimony instead. Basing alimony on income and resources is fairer to both spouses, although women are still the most common recipients.

Is Alimony Temporary or Permanent?

Most spousal support payments are intended to be temporary to essentially bridge the gap between the previous and current quality of living until the spouse receiving payments can support themselves. However, certain circumstances may encourage the court to make alimony payments permanent.

For instance, when the marriage has lasted 20 to 30 years, the court may decide to award lifetime alimony payments. Other factors may be considered when lifetime payments are awarded, such as the age and earning ability of the spouse receiving payments. A divorce attorney for women will assess the details of your case to estimate how long you can expect to receive alimony payments.

Other Spousal Support End Dates

While some spousal support is temporary and will end on a specific date, other spousal support mandates are meant to end after specific events. For example, if the recipient of the spousal support remarries, then alimony payments from the previous spouse will end. If the spouse paying alimony is injured, disabled, or dies, then alimony payments will also end, or may be temporarily postponed until the ex-spouse can work again.

Many nuances are involved in determining the amount of spousal support payments and when those payments will end. Your legal counsel will assess your case and give you a better idea of what you can expect for your specific circumstances.

Can Your Ex-Spouse Have Delinquent Payments?

Yes, your ex-spouse can have delinquent or past-due payments. In fact, past-due spousal support isn’t uncommon in Ohio, which is why the court may need to step in to reinforce your payments. Sometimes, the court orders garnishment of up to 25% of disposable earnings if spousal support payments aren’t being made voluntarily.

If your ex-spouse refuses to make payments, the court may find them in contempt of court orders. The process of collecting past-due alimony begins with a demand letter from your legal counsel to remind your ex-spouse of their payment obligations and the current amount of alimony owed to you. If your ex-spouse continues to refuse payments, the court may take additional actions, including fines for refusing to make alimony payments.

Why Do You Need a Divorce Attorney for Women for Alimony?

Although spousal support can be awarded to either spouse regardless of gender, the fact of the matter is that women are still more likely to receive alimony. That said, fair spousal support may be difficult to receive in certain cases, particularly if the initial calculation does not take unique factors related to your case into consideration. For example, a divorce attorney for women will be able to advocate for higher spousal support if there is a drastic difference in income between the spouses, which may necessitate an exception from the court.

Women are often more successful with their cases when they are represented by lawyers who understand the unique challenges women face during a divorce. Please contact WSM in Westerville, OH to learn more about spousal support today.