In Ohio, judges have discretion whether to award spousal maintenance. In other states, judges use a formula, but instead Ohio judges will review several factors, such as:
- The duration of the marriage
- Each spouse’s age
- Each spouse’s income and/or earning potential
- The mental and physical health of the dependent spouse
- Whether child support is ordered
A judge doesn’t apply these factors in a mechanical way but instead takes a holistic view of the financial situation to determine whether to award support and, if so, for how long. For example:
- If one spouse is disabled and unable to work, then he or she can probably get spousal maintenance indefinitely. The court does not want this person to become a ward of the state.
- If the dependent spouse is retired and has been married a long time, a judge might award indefinite spousal maintenance to allow this person to live out the rest of their life in comfort.
- If the dependent spouse is young, a judge might award maintenance for a limited amount of time to give this person a chance to finish a college degree or obtain more work experience so that he or she can be independent.
Each case is different, and it is impossible to say ahead of time how a judge will rule in a high net worth divorce.