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When can you stop paying support to an ex-spouse?

Spousal support is an obligation created between two individuals pursuant to their divorce. In Ohio, an order or agreement for spousal support can be permanent or temporary. Depending on many factors that relate to the capacities of the parties to earn incomes and support themselves, spousal support can last for varying durations of time and can be for very different sums of money.

Spousal support is generally formalized in a divorce decree and, therefore, it becomes a binding obligation between the parties. If a paying party stopped providing their ex-spouse with support in violation of the terms of their spousal support agreement or order, then they may face sanctions for their non-compliance. A person who simply stops paying spousal support may face penalties.

However, a person who pays their ex-spouse spousal support may petition the court to modify or end their obligation. If, for example, the recipient party in a spousal support arrangement got a job or remarried, they may no longer need the support of their ex-spouse to get by. Individual petitions to change or end spousal support obligations are considered on their own bases and different grounds can serve as the bases for terminating such relationships.

Individuals should be aware that the unilateral decision to cease spousal support payments may be actionable by their ex-spouse. Modifications require court action to be official and, therefore, those who want to make changes to their current spousal support situations may need to seek more information about family law options and the potential paths forward.

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