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The court has options regarding spousal maintenance in a divorce

| May 10, 2021 | Family Law |

In an Indiana divorce, there are a seemingly endless number of issues that might be in dispute. Often, the couple will focus on children. Custody, parenting time and child support will be at the forefront. Property division is also a frequent topic about which the sides might disagree. While it may recede to the background in certain circumstances, spousal maintenance (also referred to as alimony or spousal support) is also a common sticking point. The party paying support and the party receiving it could have different perspectives as to how much should be paid and its duration.

Factors the court considers regarding spousal maintenance

The court has certain leeway under the law to determine spousal maintenance. A former spouse who is found to be mentally or physically incapacitated so that incapacitation results in problems self-supporting, the court might order the other spouse to pay maintenance during that time. Property and children are also considered in a maintenance decision. If the prospective receiving spouse does not have enough property – including marital property – to address his or her needs, or if that person is caring for a child who is mentally or physically incapacitated making it impossible for them to work, maintenance can be awarded until it is no longer needed.

The ability to gain employment and pay for one’s own needs often hinges on education, training and skill. If the person seeking maintenance needs time to address these challenges and they came about because of homemaking, caring for children or other responsibilities, the maintenance award can account for that. The payment duration can coincide with the amount of time it takes for the receiving former spouse to have sufficient training or education to find gainful employment. Rehabilitative maintenance of this kind cannot extend beyond three years.

Professional representation can be useful in a family law case

Family law cases can be complicated and contentious with each side having a position that they do not want to deviate from. With divorce and legal separation, it is important to know how the court will decide on spousal maintenance. Whether it is from the viewpoint of the spouse who might be obligated to pay or the spouse who is requesting support, having advice can be imperative from the start. A consultation can provide guidance with how to proceed.