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Indiana does not have actual “alimony laws,” but there are situations where a court in Indiana can award what is referred to as spousal maintenance. There are no changes to the law regarding alimony or spousal maintenance in Indiana that take effect in 2023, so the typical procedure for getting spousal maintenance remains the same. If you are considering filing for divorce in Indiana or if you are currently in the process of getting a divorce in Indiana and have questions or concerns about paying or receiving spousal maintenance, you should have a consultation with an experienced Indiana divorce attorney who can evaluate your situation and discuss possibilities with you. Read on to find out more general information about spousal maintenance in Indiana.
Spousal Maintenance in Indiana
There is no specific statute in Indiana that awards alimony to one spouse. In Indiana, the court does look at the situation between the two divorcing parties and may award specific types of spousal maintenance based on the ability of the party to ask for it to support themselves. There are four basic types of spousal maintenance that can be awarded:
Rehabilitative Spousal Maintenance: This is used when one spouse cannot reasonably support themselves because they have no education or training that will permit them to enter the workforce and start providing for themselves immediately. Suppose the spouse who does not have any education or training wants to go to school to learn a skill set or a trade that will enable them to become self-supporting. In that case, rehabilitative spousal maintenance could be awarded.
This type of maintenance tends to be the most contested in court. Although it can be made clear through vocational testing or other testing that the spouse requesting the rehabilitative support cannot support themselves and need additional support to become self-supporting, the other party tends to disagree with this type of maintenance the most.
The court does not have a test it applies to determine if rehabilitative support should be awarded. The court will examine the individual facts and circumstances when awarding rehabilitative support. One example would be if a stay-at-home mom married young and did not pursue schooling after graduating high school but instead stayed home and cared for the children; they would be a great example of someone needing rehabilitative support.
The support would usually end three years after the divorce decree is entered. The amount of support is variable, depending on individual situations.
Temporary Spousal Maintenance: This type of maintenance is awarded to a spouse when the divorce is still ongoing to support them in keeping things in their life (and possibly the children’s lives) as they were before the divorce was filed. This is used to prevent a party to a divorce from becoming homeless or falling into poverty while they try to manage the divorce and rebuild their life. This type of support can be used for housing and basic living expenses. It does not indicate any additional spousal support being awarded in the final divorce decree. The type of support will end when the divorce is complete. The amount of support will vary based on individual circumstances.
Caregiver Spousal Maintenance: If one of the spouses is a full-time caregiver to the disabled child of the parties, the court may award caregiver spousal maintenance. It is required that the caregiving spouse cannot work because of the full-time requirements of caring for the disabled child or children. In such situations, the court will determine how long the support will last, but no statutory law defines when the maintenance will end. The court also has complete leeway to determine the amount of the support, based on the individual situation.
Maintenance based on Incapacity of Spouse: There are instances where the spouse asking for spousal maintenance is incapacitated, leaving them unable to either partially or fully care for themselves without help from the other party. The incapacity can be either from mental illness or a physical disability. If the incapacitated spouse is unable to provide for themselves for either physical or mental reasons, they can be awarded maintenance. The court has broad powers regarding the spouse claiming incapacity and the maintenance award. Furthermore, the court can determine how long the maintenance is provided and the amount. The other spouse can challenge the maintenance in the future and ask that it either be discontinued or the amount lowered. The court will also take the other spouse’s ability to pay into account when making its decision.
Parties Can Reach their Own Agreement
If the parties have a prenuptial agreement that awards spousal support, the Indiana courts will honor it. Parties can also agree to spousal support in their divorce, and the court will allow it.
Calculation of Alimony in Indiana
As stated above, no statutes dictate the award of alimony or spousal maintenance in Indiana. Since there is no statutory calculation provided, the court will make its determination after examining the individual circumstances of each divorce, the amount that the other party can pay, and the demonstrated need of the party requesting the support.
Termination of Alimony in Indiana
As explained above, any spousal support the court awards will terminate when the court decrees it will terminate at the end of the divorce proceeding if the support is only temporary or if the other spouse successfully petitions for it to be ended in the context of spousal incapacity. Since there is no specific statute addressing spousal support in Indiana, there is also no specific formula for how many years the former spouse can receive support in many situations.
You should now have a basic understanding of how Indiana courts handle the issue of alimony, otherwise known as spousal support. If you are considering filing for divorce in Indiana or are in the process of getting a divorce in Indiana and have questions about spousal support, you should consult with an experienced Indiana divorce attorney who can evaluate your situation and properly advise you on what you expect and reasonably ask for. Spousal support can be a very sensitive issue, and you can usually expect the non-requesting spouse to fight any award of spousal support. If you are looking for assistance with your Indiana divorce, feel free to call O’Flaherty Law; we would be happy to help you.
What to Expect From a Consultation
The purpose of a consultation is to determine whether our firm is a good fit for your legal needs. Although we often discuss expected results and costs, our attorneys do not give legal advice unless and until you choose to retain us. Consultations may carry a charge, depending on the facts of the matter and the area of law. The cost of your consultation, if any, is communicated to you by our intake team or the attorney.