Ohio courts may order spousal support, also referred to as alimony, in divorce actions in order to provide for a spouse that does not make as much money as the other spouse. The amount and duration of the spousal support varies from case to case. Since the issue can be highly subjective, divorcing couples that do not have prenuptial agreements may find themselves arguing about spousal support during negotiations.

In Ohio, spousal support is not necessarily paid for life, and the term can vary according to the specific facts and circumstances. However, there are still states that provide for alimony to be paid for life. For instance, a man who was divorced in another state ended up being responsible for paying spousal support to his ex-wife for life, and regardless of his financial circumstances, the amount of his support obligation has not decreased. The amount of support used to be only around 30 percent of his income, but has now reached about 57 percent of his monthly income. It is likely that if the couple had signed a prenuptial agreement, he would not have been ordered to pay her for so long.

For those who are ordered by a court to pay spousal support, any change in financial circumstances could be problematic. Spousal support orders can be modified under certain allowable circumstances, but there is no guarantee that the court will agree that a modification is necessary. It is also possible that the spouse receiving the support could either ask for more money or ask that the time period be extended.

Prenuptial agreements can eliminate the need for a couple to have the court decide the issue of spousal support. When the couple negotiates and executes a prenup agreement, the parties can decide the duration and amount of support. So long as the agreement is drafted and executed in accordance with current state laws, the agreement should remain valid if the marriage is later dissolved.

Source: U.S. News and World Report, "Taking the 'Permanent' Out of Permanent Alimony," Geoff Williams, Jan. 23, 2013