If you are considering termination of your marriage, and you live in southwestern Ohio, one of the issues you will need to settle upon with your spouse is what amount of alimony, or spousal support, if any, is reasonable and appropriate. The Courts of Common Pleas, Division of Domestic Relations, in Butler, Clermont, Hamilton and Warren counties are required to follow the guidelines set forth by the state legislature in Ohio Revised Code Section 3105.18. Unlike the calculation of child support, there is no formula to calculate spousal support; only a list of thirteen specific factors, plus a fourteenth which includes any information which may be relevant and an equitable guide the judges and magistrates in each county. Individually the judges have wide discretion determining what is equitable and what is reasonable and what is appropriate; only abuses of discretion are reversible, and that is very difficult and expensive to show. A different outcome can result from the same facts depending upon which county you live in, and which judge or magistrate is assigned to your case. So what are you to do?
The thirteen factors need to be discussed and they include such things as your relative earning abilities; the duration of your marriage; the standard of living you established during your marriage; and your lost income capacity due to marital responsibilities. Moreover, in determining whether spousal support is reasonable, and in determining the amount and terms of payment, each spouse is considered to have contributed equally to the production of marital income. How will you have such conversations?
The assistance of an experienced family law mediator or Collaborative lawyer can be instrumental in avoiding a nasty court battle where little, if any, conversation about the relevant factors takes place until well after emotions are strained and resources depleted. If you choose Collaborative Family Law or mediation, you can have safe conversations about the factors which are important to each spouse in a clam and non-adversarial setting. You will give yourself the opportunity to control your own outcome as opposed to handing it over to the lawyers and judges. It is all a matter of agreeing with your spouse about how you wish to go about living through change. This can be very intimidating; however, there are Collaborative professionals interested in helping folks find new ways of moving on when things just aren’t working out. Please give us a call and check out the Collaborative Law option for yourself and your family.