Ohio has created guidelines to determine child support. These guidelines look at each parent’s incomes, the number of children, and the amount of time each parent has with the children. A judge can adjust the guideline amount up or down for good reason, such as large medical or educational expenses.
If parents have high incomes, then a judge is not required to follow the guidelines at all. The risk of a judge entering an absurdly high child support award increases in these cases, so it is best to have an attorney represent you.
Dividing Marital Property
No issue causes more confusion than dividing marital property. We have heard more misconceptions in this area, so we want to lay out the general rules governing marital property clearly.
To start, most property obtained while married is martial. The only exceptions are gifts one spouse received from a non-spouse and any inheritance. Marital property can take many forms and includes:
- Self-employment income
- Business income and business interests
- Retirement accounts
- Real estate
- Other personal property
It usually doesn’t matter who paid for the asset or whose name is on the title. If you bought a house while married, it is marital even if one spouse solely paid the mortgage out of his wages and had only his name on the deed.
Couples can leave the marriage with their separate property and divide what is marital. When they can’t agree, a judge will divide it “equitably” based on an assessment of what is fair. Equitable division does not automatically mean 50/50, though it could.
Determining Spousal Support (Alimony)
When spouses have unequal earning power, a lower-earning spouse might request alimony, also called spousal support. This usually takes the form of a monthly payment.
Ohio law does not require alimony, however, and a judge might award it for only a limited amount of time until a spouse can get back on his or her feet. Judges have a lot of discretion when it comes to spousal support, so meet with an attorney to review.