How will spousal support maintenance be determined in a high net worth divorce?

Family Law specialists with over 59 years of experience.

In some high net worth divorces, both spouses have high-powered careers as executives or professionals. They make a similar amount of money and will continue to do so after they separate.

In other high net worth divorces, by contrast, one spouse is more financially dependent on the other. The divorce could cause a dramatic drop in the ability of the dependent spouse to support him or herself. Spousal support can cushion the financial blow.

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.

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