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Ohio Spousal Support Calculator

Now Available In Windows and Mac Versions

Wrong Answer: We don't need software like that in our office 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, try to appreciate the perils in terms 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 with something in the way of specific financial reports to either attack or support the court, their own or opposing counsel's position.

Take note that you don't need expensive software, expert testimony, or a 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 a program 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 had been, since 1987, for calculating child support. Instead, the spousal support statute required consideration of a dozen or so factors including the related tax consequences. From this background, family law practitioners told us they needed a tool that did more than simply analyze tax matters. A tool for actually evaluating spousal support that made the calculation as easy as Revised Ohio Child Support Guidelines performed 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’s the genesis of the Ohio Spousal Support Calculator through 2012.

What Changed?

We think the changes in 2013/2012 are as significant and substantial as the ones we made in 2004. First, there’s a new user interface. See some screen illustrations by clicking on this link. We studied the interfaces of the industry giants, such as Intuit and Microsoft, and emulated those features and functions we recognized to be user friendly improvements. 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 terms of looks, and mouse and keyboard accuracy. The new interface is able to take advantage of the latest developments in user-friendliness based on extensive studies performed by the leaders in software development. And let's not overlook that we now offer a 100% Mac version - not Windows software that needs an emulator program to run - but native Mac software! The Windows version is compatible with Windows 8, Windows7 and Vista. It is NOT compatible with Windows XP.

Of course, the second big change is updating the tax information. As explained, 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 for you 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 at the touch of a button. They are conveniently viewable alongside the input screens. Note that this function depends on the monitor size and screen resolution of your computer as well as the installation of the appropriate free Adobe Reader  or Internet Explorer plug in. Click here for screen illustrations.

The third major addition to the program is 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. The only thing missing is the CLE credits and you can get those too if you register for the video and pay the required fee. For further details about the CLE, click here. Register by using the CLE Registration button on the right side top of any web page. Note that the video help function is dependent on having installed a compatible version of Microsoft’s Windows Media Player as the video files are provided in a WMV file format. Again, the “simultaneous” nature of this function depends on the monitor size and screen resolution of your computer.

Finally, while previous versions of Ohio Spousal Support Calculator calculated income equalization over a range of spousal support amounts, this new version (while still doing the same thing) is able to pinpoint spousal support to an increasingly precise amount taking into consideration all forms of taxable and non-taxable income, the exchange of spousal and child support, and tax consequences. We've also redesigned the Income, Taxes, Support & Expenses (ITSE)  report to make it easier to read and understand. Click here for a partial screen illustration of the update ITSE report.

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 is 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.


Specifically?

Ohio Spousal Support Calculator is an essential tool for calculating spousal support and child support in Ohio. It can be considered a pretrial/trial preparation tool based on its ability to extensively analyze the marital estate - marital assets, debt, income, expenses and taxes. But the big change incorporated into Ohio Spousal Support Calculator is not about finances or taxes—it’s about spousal support.

Spousal Support/Alimony

Ohio Revised Code 3105.18(B) lists eleven factors a trial court must consider in determining the amount of spousal support. 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 Ohio Spousal Support Calculator for yourself, download the free demo by following the instructions at the end of this page.

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 the currently-set 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 excellent and 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. See the end of this article for details about a our demo version.

3. Report—Statutory Considerations

This report must be seen to be appreciated. Unfortunately, it’s too long to be duplicated on this brief web page. Composed in a style that is more akin to 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.

Using income equalization as a starting point, Ohio Spousal Support Calculator tests each party’s income against their essential and nonessential expenses. The obvious purpose being to determine the extent to which a party can meet living expenses at various levels of spousal support. While distinguishing between essential and nonessential living expenses may seem arbitrary or artificial, in cases where spendable income doesn’t meet living expenses, it’s helpful to know which expenses are nonessential. 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 eleven 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.

If you’d like to see a sample of this form, you can visit the Demos & Downloads page of our web site, scroll to Spousal Support Calculator and click on the PDF link captioned "Sample Report."

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 a complete child support guidelines function. Note however that this is not a substitute for Revised Ohio Child Support Guidelines which is a separate program.

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 try our free demo. Your clients will thank you for it.

Note that this program and demo are intended for law offices and therefore, in order to deter non-professionals, can only be obtained by contacting us by phone. Also, the demo is only available in its Windows version.



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