Do I Have to File for a Divorce to Receive Temporary Spousal Support?

Post-Decree-LitigationIn Ohio, payments from one spouse to another during or after a divorce is known as “spousal support.” Spousal support is also commonly known as “alimony.” In Ohio, spousal support is defined as “any payment or payments to be made to a spouse or former spouse, or to a third party for the benefit of a spouse or a former spouse, that is both for sustenance and for support of the spouse or former spouse.” This is separate from an order of child support and serves a different purpose than child support.

Although you and your spouse can agree to exchange money prior to filing for a divorce, spousal support cannot be ordered by a court prior to a divorce filing. To obtain a court order regarding temporary spousal support, you typically must be involved in a divorce or legal separation action in Ohio.

When spousal support is ordered during the pendency of a divorce and prior to the finalization of a divorce, it is called “temporary spousal support.” Temporary spousal support is money paid to you or money paid by you to your spouse during the divorce process.

While some Ohio courts issue orders for the payment of temporary spousal support based on the affidavits filed during a divorce, others require that your attorney file motions on your behalf requesting that such orders be issued. Ohio law is gender-neutral when it comes to the payment of spousal support – it is generally based on the respective incomes and resources of the parties. However, there is not a specific formula for calculating temporary spousal support. An award of spousal support is within the court’s discretion and whether and in what amount the court decides to grant temporary spousal support depends upon the court’s consideration of a number of factors.

The factors the court will look at in determining whether to issue a temporary spousal support order, and the amount of any order, include the spouses’ respective earning capacities, the recipient-spouse’s need, both spouses’ ages and health, and each spouse’s education and employment experience. In determining an award of temporary spousal support, as opposed to spousal support awarded after the divorce, the court’s primary goals is to maintain the status quo established during the marriage until the divorce is finalized. For example, if one party is a stay-at-home parent and does not have sufficient income to support himself or herself during the divorce, the other party may be required to provide financial support for the duration of the divorce proceedings.

The divorce process is stressful enough without having to worry about how you are going to financially support yourself. It is important to consult a knowledge attorney who can help ease your stress and fight for your right to receive sufficient financial support through this very difficult time.