It should be noted that the divorce procedure in America, including Indiana, is quite complicated and lengthy. The parties to the case try to get rid of the marital bonds, and the lawyers win from it.
Moreover, the longer the process, the more legal assistance costs. If, after all, divorce was successful, the court of Indiana considers the issue of alimony for the needs of a spouse in need, taking into account:
- the duration of the marriage union;
- the degree of urgency;
- other circumstances
It’s usually the husband who gets a duty to maintain the ex-wife. Moreover, it is set for a reasonably long time. The termination of such obligation lasts until the ex-spouse remarries. Women often use this not rushing into a new marriage.
There are cases when husbands manage to claim funds for their maintenance from ex-wives, but the percentage of such cases is small. Generally, men are willing almost to beg competent officials to exempt them from paying money in the interests of their ex-wife, trying to prove that the spouse is relatively well provided and is trying to get naturally enriched by the ex-husband.
Spousal Support in Indiana
In contrast to some other states, the state of Indiana does not recognize alimony. It provides for spousal maintenance instead. The state entails that each spouse will work and support themselves after the marriage dissolution. However, there are exceptions. For instance, one spouse might be disabled and unable to find a job and sustain oneself. In this case, the non-disabled one will have to pay the disabled ex the so-called spousal maintenance, which is alimony. Such payments can generally be deducted from the non-disabled spouse’s federal income taxes.
The Periods When Spousal Maintenance is Paid
The state of Indiana defines only two periods when spousal maintenance can be paid. The first one is the temporary period of the divorce process. This is the time when the couple has filed for divorce, but it is not final yet. The courts of Indiana usually grant spousal maintenance during the provisional period if there is an income gap between the spouses and one of them needs spousal support to maintain the familiar and comfortable standard of living. Another period during which alimony may be paid is after the divorce is finalized. For a court to order spousal maintenance, certain criteria must be met. You can find it in Indiana Code 31-15-7-2.
Indiana Code 31-15-7-2
The law of Indiana defines the cases when spousal maintenance is appropriate. There are findings concerning alimony that a court may make, including the following ones:
If the court finds that:
A spouse is physically or mentally disabled to the extent of not being able to support oneself. The maintenance for the spouse will be found necessary for the period of incapacity, subject to further order of the court;
A spouse doesn’t have enough property, including the marital one apportioned to the spouse, to provide for his or her needs;
The spouse has custody over a physically or mentally disabled child who requires the custodian to stay home. Maintenance will be found necessary for the spouse in such amount and for a time that the court considers adequate.
the level of education of each spouse during marriage and at the time the action is commenced;
if a break in the process of learning, employment, or training of a spouse who is seeking alimony occurred during the time of marriage due to child care or homemaking responsibilities, or both;
The work potential of each spouse, including educational level, training, employment skills, work experience, and time spent on the job market or unemployed; The necessary amount of time and money to receive proper education or training to enable the spouse who is seeking alimony to find a job. Rehabilitative maintenance for the spouse seeking maintenance might be found necessary in the amount and for the time that the court considers adequate, but not longer than three years from the date of the final decree.
Temporary Spousal Maintenance
The provisional period of a divorce is the most common time when the court awards spousal maintenance. It happens because one spouse was not working during the marriage and seeks financial assistance to maintain the marital place of residence or an alternative living arrangement. When one spouse has to pay spousal maintenance during the provisional period, such support will end upon the entry of the final decree. However, the divorce decree may order the support to continue.
If the spouse owes his or her ex the spousal maintenance at the time the divorce decree is entered, their attorney needs to make sure that the arrearage is preserved. The primary goal of a final divorce decree is to control what happens going forward. Therefore, if a spouse or their attorney fails to mention an arrearage of the spousal maintenance payments the court ordered in the divorce decree, it will be seen as waived.
Post Decree Spousal Maintenance
Indiana Code 31-15-7-2 defines three cases when post-decree spousal maintenance is appropriate.
The first one is if the court finds a spouse to be physically or mentally unable to support himself or herself. In this case, post-decree spousal maintenance may last as long as the disabled spouse stays unable to care for herself or himself.
The second case is if the court finds a spouse is unable to care for his or her needs due to not having enough property. Besides this spouse is taking care of a child with special needs, and has no opportunity to work. If the court determines this to be true, the maintenance may last as long as the court finds adequate.
The third case is the most common one. That is when a spouse left a career (or education) to become a stay-at-home parent and homemaker. In this situation, the court may decide that the spouse would need spousal maintenance to find a job or pay for further education and training. The court may order spousal support for not longer than for three years in this particular case.
Spousal Maintenance and Limits on Income
Keep in mind that not everyone can be ordered to receive or pay spousal support in Indiana. You can find guidance to the court in making such determinations in the Indiana Child Support Guidelines. Generally, if the spousal maintenance is temporary, it does not exceed 35% of the obligor’s weekly estimated income. Moreover, temporary spousal maintenance and child support does not exceed 50% of the obligor’s weekly estimated income and should take into account the obligor’s ability to care for himself or herself. Overall, the care must be made in such a way to ensure that spousal maintenance beyond the final decree leaves the obligor with adequate money for self-sustenance.
Summarizing everything noted, you can see that alimony legal relations in Indiana are built on relatively clear and logical principles that are common for many countries of the world. Most importantly, the obligation to pay spousal maintenance is perceived as entirely legitimate, and instead a serious legal responsibility is provided for evading its execution.
How to Collect Spousal Maintenance
The easiest way is to voluntary agree on the maintenance of your spouse. However, if there are children involved, fathers pay child support voluntarily, but many of them do not consider it necessary to support a wife, especially a former one. Therefore, voluntary spouse maintenance is a rare occasion, and in the vast majority of cases, it takes the involvement of the court and lawyers. For a positive result of the situation, the spouse who seeks maintenance first needs to get the support of an experienced family lawyer who will help to draw the complaint.