If you are contemplating divorce, spousal support is likely one of the factors you are weighing. There is much misinformation online, from non-experts, about whether and how spousal support might be an issue in your divorce. Many well-meaning friends pass along their experiences with spousal support in their divorces. In reality, whether spousal support will be a part of your divorce depends on a number of facts specific to your marriage, such as the length of your marriage, you and your spouse’s relative earning abilities, and the lifestyle you lived during your marriage.
Below are five common myths associated with spousal support in Ohio, along with information on what you should know.
Myth: It is only for women.
Ohio law does not provide that spousal support is paid by a husband to a wife. Under the appropriate circumstances, either spouse may collect spousal support. There are plenty of divorces in which the higher-earning spouse is the wife, and she becomes the payer of spousal support. The court does not consider a spouse’s gender when examining a claim for spousal support.
Historically, women were predominantly the recipients of spousal support only because women were historically more likely to be the financially dependent spouse. Today, of course, this is no longer the case. Married couples are far more diverse in their economic arrangements.
Myth: It is only for affluent parties.
People often hear “spousal support” and think of wealthy celebrities. Spousal support is not only for the wealthy. Plenty of divorcing couples of modest means are paying spousal support.
In very general terms, spousal support is for situations in which one spouse has an economic need for financial support after a divorce, and the other party has the means to provide it.
Myth: Support is for the “wronged party.”
Spousal support is not a punishment for marital misconduct, and it is not proof that someone was to blame for the divorce.
Spousal support is paid based on the spouses’ relative financial situations, both in terms of their financial need and their earning capacity. A classic example is a spouse who left a career during the marriage to care for children, and upon divorce, faces an enormous challenge to re-enter the workforce to be able to become financially self-sufficient.