Indiana Spousal Maintenance Attorneys
The dissolution of a marriage is a difficult and often emotionally charged process. Of all the challenges that must be addressed, the financial ones may be both the most important and the most complex. Many divorces involve a monetary award known as “alimony” or “spousal support,” which is designed to assist the economically weaker spouse during the transition to living within his or her own means. The modern term preferred in most jurisdictions — and the one recognized by Indiana law — is “spousal maintenance.”
If you have questions about spousal maintenance, the New Albany, IN, alimony lawyers at McNeely Stephenson can help. We understand the issues and can guide you through these difficult times while ensuring that you avoid costly mistakes. Whether you are the spouse who may need to pay or the spouse who may need to receive money to meet expenses, we will work closely with you and help you make the best decisions possible. We have worked with many families, and we look forward to working with yours.
Either spouse can be ordered to pay, and the law’s use of the term “spouse” rather than “husband” or “wife” is intended to convey the gender neutrality of the payments. Spousal maintenance is basically dependent upon the paying spouse’s ability to pay support and the receiving spouse’s need for support. A typical divorce case begins with the spouses separating and one moving out of the marital home. At that point, who controls the flow of money becomes extremely critical, and maintenance may be necessary.
Not everyone in Indiana seeking a divorce pays or receives spousal support. The determination is dependent upon the specific facts of the case. Because Indiana law assumes that each spouse will work and support themselves after the marriage ends, any order of rehabilitative maintenance is limited to a period of no more than 3 years. Rehabilitative maintenance is intended to help a spouse who gave up education or career to raise the children (or one who has a great disparity in earning power compared to the other spouse) gain the ability to be self-supportive.
Temporary maintenance for the period of time between the filing of the divorce and the final decree is most often granted to ensure the spouse’s and children’s needs are met and to give the court time to fully hear the evidence. A court is also more inclined to grant it when there is a large disparity of income between the spouses and one spouse needs maintenance in order to maintain his or her standard of living.
An award of maintenance to be paid after the divorce is final is typically awarded only in the following limited circumstances:
- If a spouse is physically or mentally incapacitated, a court may order maintenance if that incapacitation materially affects that spouse’s ability to support himself or herself. These are complex and rare cases.
- If the parties are the parents of a child who is physically or mentally incapacitated, the court may order maintenance if the spouse needing maintenance lacks sufficient property to provide support for himself or herself and the special needs child and must forgo employment to care for the child.
- If rehabilitative maintenance is requested, the court will consider:
- The education level of each spouse at the time of marriage and at the time of divorce or legal separation,
- Whether there was an interruption in the education, training, or employment of the spouse seeking maintenance as a result of homemaking or child care responsibilities,
- The earning capacity of each spouse including educational background, training, employment skills, work experience, and length of presence in or absence from the job market, and
- The time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the spouse seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment.
- If the parties have agreed to it, the court will examine the legality of the written agreement.
The circumstances that warrant an award for maintenance in Indiana are limited. If you are concerned about how you might be affected by Indiana’s spousal maintenance laws, you want a lawyer that will be an advocate for you. Whether you are the spouse who may be required to pay spousal maintenance or the one who may need to receive it, the IN spousal support attorneys at McNeely Stephenson will work closely with you to aggressively protect your rights and help you make the best decisions possible. For skilled and knowledgeable representation regarding spousal maintenance orders or modification of such orders, contact us by calling 812-725-8224 or filling out our online form. Based in New Albany, Indiana, we proudly serve communities throughout Kentuckiana; Floyd County, IN; and Clark County, IN.