F & F Seeks to Eliminate Permanent and ‘Double Dip’ Alimony, Establish Cap on Size, Duration of Alimony Awards

This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the most ill-conceived shift in the history of Ohio spousal support law.  In 1990, R.C. 3105.18, Ohio’s spousal support statute, was revised to require courts to cease determining spousal support (a.k.a. alimony) based on the actual needs of the spouse, and start basing it on a determination of what is “appropriate and reasonable” in light of a number of vague and contradictory factors.

In passing this revision, Ohio Legislators were attempting to address concerns about former homemakers’ post-divorce financial struggles.  However, the research used was from the mid-1980s and, even as the legislation was being enacted, socioeconomic changes had already begun to correct the problem.

The number of children whose parents both worked has increased from 43% in 1990 to 80% today.  Further, while women comprised 45% of the national workforce in 1990, they are now the majority (53%), and the income gap between women and men has shrunk to a record low of 83% as of September, 2010. Ohio’s guidelines are based on 25-year-old data that do not reflect the enormous changes society has undergone, and the application of R.C. 3105.18 has been inconsistent, unpredictable, and devoid of any correlation to an identifiable goal.

Fathers and Families understands that spousal support is sometimes necessary and/or appropriate. However, current law simply punishes the higher-earning spouse for his or her success. Fathers and Families will be introducing legislation to overhaul R.C. 3105.18 and establish the following changes:

1.    A prohibition against permanent spousal support or continuation of spousal support past the age of retirement, as recognized by the U.S. Social Security Administration.

2.    A cap on the duration of any spousal support obligation to half the length of the marriage.

3.    Revisions to both R.C. 3105.18 and R.C. 3105.171, Ohio’s property division statute, to eliminate “double dipping”–the consideration of a payor’s business both as an asset in the property division and as a source of income for purposes of spousal support.

If you are an alimony obligor, we want to hear from you–please fill out our form here.

Fathers and Families is the nation”s leader in passing child support and alimony reform legislation to ensure that obligors are being treated fairly. Examples of some of our legislative successes in these ares include: AZ HB 2348, CA SB 1482, CA SB 580, CA SB 1355, CA SB 285, IN HB 1165, and MA HB 930. Moreover, in Massachusetts we were responsible for reducing excessive child support by over $1 billion in Massachusetts from 2001 through 2008.

Working together, we can restore reason and fiscal responsibility to Ohio spousal support determinations.

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