ISN’T THERE A CALCULATION FOR SPOUSAL SUPPORT?
In determining child support there is a calculation chart. For those whose case falls within the income limits of the chart, the calculation simplifies the support discussion. Would’t it be nice to have a calculator for spousal support? But no, there is no such legislated chart for spousal support in Ohio.
Rather, the determination of spousal support is guided by a 14 factor test that includes earning ability and income; age, health of the parties, duration of marriage, standard of living during the marriage, assets of each party, contributions to training and education — with the final factor being “anything else that is considered relevant and equitable”. Since each case is fact driven, applying the factors and their individual importance to the specific case adds complexity making the determination of the appropriate amount of spousal support much more subjective. Some try to simplify the process by utilizing a percentage formula (like 60/40 division of income). But that may only be a benchmark illustrating the potential outcome as opposed to what the Court may actually order when applying the factors.
In a Collaborative divorce case, the Collaborative Attorneys focus on the specific interests, goals and concerns of both spouses relative to the issue of support. They focus their discussion on the actual, estimated or anticipated needs and requirements of both households and the actual income and ability of each party to earn. In a Collaborative setting, spousal support is based not on calculations but an in-depth discussion and analysis of income producing assets, current and future income and the parties’ financial needs. With the assistance of Collaborative Counsels, the parties can control the amount and duration of support with an outcome tailored to the specific family situation.
So while spousal support is not pursuant to a calculator, in a Collaborative Divorce, the process is a very “calculated” means to an equitable end.