Alimony is called spousal support in Ohio, and it can be negotiated between divorcing spouses or awarded by a judge. Spousal support can be awarded permanently or for a set period of time, and it may be modified if the circumstances of either party change significantly. However, this only happens in Ohio if the language in the divorce decree specifically states that spousal support is modifiable. Judges generally make sure that their spousal support orders are modifiable, and family law attorneys usually include this language when they draft divorce decrees.
Cohabitation is considered a significant change of circumstances in Ohio. However, judges will only terminate spousal support because of cohabitation when the party receiving the payments has lived with a romantic partner for some time and shares living expenses with them. If a divorced spouse who receives support payments takes in a roommate, has only been living with a romantic partner for a few weeks or has been living with a romantic partner for many months but does not share living expenses with them, a petition to terminate spousal support is unlikely to be granted.
Proving cohabitation can be difficult because divorce spouses often take great care to keep their living arrangements private so they can keep receiving spousal support. When private detectives are tasked with proving cohabitation, they often find proof of a romantic relationship on social media platforms and proof of shared living expenses in trash cans. When social media posts are guarded and utility bills are shredded before being discarded, investigators may conduct surveillance to gather evidence of cohabitation.
Waiting for spousal support
Cohabitation is considered a significant change in circumstances in Ohio that could lead to a spousal support termination, but gathering the evidence needed to prove that a couple have a romantic relationship and share their living expenses can be extremely difficult. When couples are very careful and attempts to gather evidence of cohabitation are unsuccessful, a divorced spouse making support payments may just have to wait. Judges in Ohio do not follow strict rules when they determine how long spousal support should be paid for, but they usually award one year of support for each three years of marriage.