Before you get divorced, you should be aware of how spousal maintenance works in Indiana. Spousal maintenance is determined on a case-by-case basis and a state-by-state basis, so you will also want to discuss it with your attorney. Spousal maintenance is likely to have a considerable impact on your financial situation and is, consequently, an important thing to understand.
What is Spousal Maintenance?
Spousal maintenance is most commonly known as “alimony.” It’s a support payment paid to a spouse who has made career-related sacrifices for the duration of their marriage, or the spouse is incapacitated and incapable of financially supporting themselves, or the spouse is unable to work outside of the home due to providing care to a disabled child from your marriage.
In a marriage, it’s assumed that both people are contributing equally, but not both may be getting paid for it externally — a homemaker is contributing to the marriage but doesn’t receive a paycheck. So, spousal maintenance is designed to help compensate for this issue. But it isn’t intended to make the homemaker entirely whole; it doesn’t keep them up to the same standard of living.
Spousal maintenance also isn’t forever. There are conditions on spousal maintenance — it’s discontinued after a certain amount of time and after certain conditions have been met, such as remarriage. So, spousal maintenance is really intended to help someone get back on their feet after a marriage in which they may have made specific, career-related sacrifices.
When is Spousal Maintenance Awarded?
Both spouses are expected to work, to the best of their ability, after the divorce. So, the spouse paying alimony can’t just quit their job or take a lower-paid job. And the spouse accepting alimony can’t just refuse to get a job or get a job that’s outside of their field or for lower pay. Regardless, spousal support has a few requirements:
- The individual receiving spousal support can’t work due to a disability.
- The individual doesn’t have enough assets, including marital property, to not work comfortably.
- The individual receiving spousal support needs additional training or experience to get into the job market.
To explain this, consider someone who stayed home and took care of children for 18 years. They may have had a career before, but they didn’t develop their career for nearly two decades. While they could ordinarily have had a job that paid $100,000, now they don’t qualify for anything but entry-level work at $35,000. Consequently, they need spousal support due to the choices that both spouses made during the marriage.
This is important because both the spouse receiving alimony and the spouse paying it made the relevant decisions. So, the spouse receiving alimony isn’t expected to be made whole — it’s just supposed to give them some money, within reason, to recover from their disability or to obtain additional training that they decided to forgo while raising the children from their marriage. If that spouse was able to find work at $100,000 annually despite taking two decades off from their career, alimony would no longer be necessary — because those consequences would have been resolved.
What Determines the Amount Given?
The amount of spousal support is going to be determined by a few factors, which is why the court will usually go over the situation to determine what the appropriate amount would be.
First, the length of the alimony depends on the length of the marriage. Generally, alimony in Indiana is paid for 1 year for every 3 years of marriage.
Second, marital fault isn’t considered when calculating alimony. Many people think that, for instance, if there’s a case of infidelity, alimony might be lower or higher. That’s not true.
Standard of living of both parties during your marriage is certainly a consideration for the calculation of spousal support, along with the property settlement received by both parties, when courts determine spousal support.
Finally, custodial status is considered. So, if someone has custody of the children, they are more likely to get higher alimony payments, especially if that spouse is caring for disabled children. This is separate from child support.
That being said, Indiana is interesting because there’s no actual calculation that goes into alimony. Many states have a specific calculation that’s used. Indiana does not; in Indiana, a judge determines the appropriate amount of alimony. So, there could be a lot of factors, considered, including just how much damage has been done to the alimony-seeking spouse’s potential career.
Contact Trapp Law LLC for Help with Your Spousal Maintenance
Whether you’re paying alimony or seeking alimony, we can provide professional, friendly services to ensure that you’re properly represented. If you need assistance with pending or current spousal support, we can help. Contact Trap Law LLC to talk to an expert today.