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Ohio Spousal Support Calculator

Available In Windows and Mac Versions

Referred to by the American Bar Association's GP Solo Magazine as the "best software" for family lawyers.

A picture's worth a thousand words. Short YouTube demonstration video.

Interested in the finer points? Click here to see our new, 15-minute YouTube video.

Wrong Answer: We don't need software like that because our court calculates spousal support on its own.

Right Question:  Did you know that there have been recent cases where courts have advised attorneys that failure to "google" certain easily verifiable case facts constitutes a failure to exercise due diligence?  Davis v. Department of Justice, 460 F3d 92 (2006). If you can't see where this is going, you'll probably have difficulty appreciating the perils of the wrong answer. By the way, you can obtain a copy of Google for Lawyers by attorney Carole A. Levitt and Mark E Rosch, specialist in law office technology. Available from the Law Management Section of the American Bar Association. ($80).

In practice, the wrong answer is consistent with a recent discussion we had with a family court magistrate who commented that he prefers to see attorneys come to trials and pre-trials prepared to support their client's position. He found the number of attorneys who literally place their clients at the "mercy of the court" to be remarkable.

You don't need expensive software, expert testimony, or an impractical investment of time to get started putting together an analysis of the marital estate. Ohio Spousal Support Calculator is an inexpensive first step in advocating your client's position and fulfilling your professional obligations.

Humble Beginnings

In the late 1990’s Ohio Spousal Support Calculator was largely an application that calculated the tax consequences of spousal support payments. Why the limited functionality? One reason is that there were no guidelines for calculating spousal support as there has been, since 1987, for calculating child support. Instead, the spousal support statute required consideration of fourteen factors one of which was the tax consequences or making and receiving payments. From this background, family law practitioners told us they needed a tool that did more than simply analyze tax matters. They wanted a tool for evaluating spousal support that made the calculation as easy as Revised Ohio Child Support Guidelines made child support calculations.

Enter the 2004 Ohio Spousal Support Calculator. It was designed to balance the parties’ "spendable" income and arrive at a support amount that approximated income equality after the exchange of support and payment of taxes. In addition to balancing the marital books, it also illustrated issues related to a party’s ability to make or receive payments. That was the genesis of the Ohio Spousal Support Calculator.

What Changed?

In 2014 we began using our new user interface. See some screen illustrations by clicking on this link. We studied the interfaces of industry giants such as Intuit and Microsoft, and emulated those features and functions we recognized to be user friendly improvements in business/legal programming. Input screens no longer seek to exactly duplicate the paper forms and schedules. Instead they are designed to expedite and streamline data entry. The result is immediately apparent in the new look and feel. Ohio Spousal Support Calculator is compatible with Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows7, Vista and Windows XP. The Mac version is compatible with Mac OSX Version 10.8 or higher.

Of course, each year brings a complete update of the tax calculation. That's important because the spousal support statute (RC 3105.18) provides that the tax consequences to the obligor and the recipient must be considered. In that context, it is sometimes necessary to understand how particular tax issues are resolved; toward that end, the relevant Internal Revenue Service forms, instructions and other publications are all instantly available. Click here for screen illustrations.

Another major addition is the online video help and instructions. This is big. We’ve included over two hours of expert advice on program operation and the law. It’s unbelievably helpful and the links to the YouTube instructional videos are accessible directly from the app.

If you practice family law, you simply must try this out this indispensible companion to our popular Revised Ohio Child Support Guidelines - the de-facto standard for performing child support calculations and used by over 100 Ohio Courts and Agencies including Domestic Relations Courts, Juvenile Courts, Probate Courts, Child Support Enforcement Agencies, Departments of Human Services, Departments of Job & Family Services, Prosecutor’s Offices, Appellate Courts, Law Libraries, Law Schools, Paralegal Schools and Universities.

Spousal Support/Alimony

Ohio Revised Code 3105.18(B) lists fourteen factors a trial court must consider in making a spousal support award. Following these guidelines, Ohio Spousal Support Calculator suggests a range of spousal support amounts that is not simply the result of a tax analysis or income equalization formula. Ohio Spousal Support Calculator makes its "suggestions" via a set of forms or reports that are discussed below. If you'd like to see it in action, view our short YouTube demonstration video.

1. Income, Taxes, Support & Expenses

This form contains a side-by-side summary of the parties’ taxable and nontaxable income along with personal and living expenses that are subdivided into essential and nonessential expenses. Both before-tax and after-tax information is provided consistent with user-definable amount of spousal support. We think you’ll find the side-by-side format of this form well-organized and quite easy to understand. Click here to see a full-size reproduction at page 3.

2. Support v. Lifestyle

This form is essentially a table that summarizes the information contained in the Income, Taxes, Support & Expenses form through a range of 28 different values of spousal support. We call it the Lifestyle form because it provides an instructive comparison of the parties’ ability to meet essential and non-essential living expenses at different levels of spousal support. Whether you accept the premise that a person’s lifestyle is defined, to a great extent, by their spending habits, you’ll find this form to be one of Ohio Spousal Support Calculator’s most telling reports.

3. Report—Statutory Considerations

This report must be seen to be appreciated. Composed in a style that is more like a well-reasoned legal brief than an accounting spreadsheet, it begins by calculating the difference between the parties' respective total incomes. These income figures are then adjusted for payment of federal, state and local income taxes so that a more realistic starting point is achieved for evaluating and comparing after-tax income and each party’s ability to meet their personal and living expenses. What the ITSE and Lifestyle forms do in numbers, this report does in words--with additional space for personal notes.

While distinguishing between essential and nonessential living expenses may seem arbitrary, in cases where spendable income doesn’t meet living expenses, knowing which expenses are nonessential is an important consideration. Furthermore, because division of the family unit necessarily involves supporting two households on the same income that previously supported one, categorizing expenses as essential or nonessential takes on increased importance.

Ohio Spousal Support Calculator doesn’t stop there, however. It makes additional observations about many of the Revised Code’s fourteen statutory considerations. It even compares each party’s total income to the per capita income for that party’s county of residence based on information compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis from recent census information.

4. Set Spousal Support

Once Ohio Spousal Support Calculator evaluates the ability of the parties to pay their expenses, it suggests a spousal support amount that resembles after-tax equality. In any real life situation, however, there are a potential range of acceptable spousal support amounts and this form lets you deviate from any formulas or algorithms and set your own amount to be used in the tax calculations and expense comparisons. In the final analysis it’s not the program in control, but rather you in control of the program.

Child Support

Until now, we’ve been focusing on spousal support, but don’t forget, Ohio Spousal Support Calculator integrates the complete child support calculation.

Tax Issues

All of the calculations performed by Ohio Spousal Support Calculator are after-tax figures. That means the tax consequences involved in the exchange of spousal support are already incorporated into forms such as the Lifestyle form. Ohio Spousal Support Calculator does more than just give you the after-tax figures however. From the Tax Issues section of Ohio Spousal Support Calculator you can view or print a breakdown of tax information related to who should take the dependency exemptions and how it affects both parties. When it’s best to split the dependency exemptions, Ohio Spousal Support Calculator lets you know in this section.

Finally, Ohio Spousal Support Calculator prints side-by-side tax returns for both parties so you don’t need to blindly accept figures but can review the calculations every step of the way. We think it’s awesome and you will too.

In Conclusion

Each of the forms and reports contained in Ohio Spousal Support Calculator is capable of being exported to your word processor for quick and easy inclusion pleadings, briefs and the like. And we're only touching the tip of the iceberg. There's a whole lot more that Ohio Spousal Support Calculator can do, but ...

Don’t Take Our Word For It—Seeing Is Believing

You'll be denying yourself an excellent tool for saving time and increasing the quality of your work product if you don't watch our short YouTube demonstration video. Your clients will thank you for it.

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