In Indiana, what was historically referred to as alimony is now termed “spousal maintenance.” Parties going through a divorce should be advised that there are two (2) types of spousal maintenance: (1) temporary spousal maintenance, which may be ordered to be paid by one party during the pendency of the divorce; and (2) spousal maintenance after entry of the final Decree of Dissolution by the court.
Temporary maintenance can be ordered by a court at the preliminary hearing or agreed upon by the parties. The purpose of this order is to allow the parties to maintain the “status quo” in order to meet all financial obligations during the pendency of the divorce. When determining whether an award of temporary maintenance is appropriate, courts may consider which party will be living in the marital home with the children during the pendency of the divorce and any discrepancy in the parties’ earnings or income in relation to the existing marital obligations. When appropriate, the court may order one party to pay the other’s obligations, such as the monthly mortgage, utilities on the marital residence, car payment, or minimum monthly payments on credit cards.
Post-dissolution spousal maintenance may be ordered to be paid after the court’s entry of the Decree of Dissolution in three (3) circumstances (absent an agreement to the contrary.); (1) if a party is incapacitated due to a physical or mental disability such that they cannot work and support themselves; (2) if a child of the marriage is disabled and the party taking on primary care and custody of that child will not be able to work to support himself/ herself, and the child due to the caretaking responsibilities which are required; and (3) if “rehabilitative maintenance” is deemed appropriate when one spouse is required to further his/her education or training prior to a re-entry into the workforce due to the fact that their education, training or employment was interrupted for homemaking or child rearing reasons. Under Indiana law, rehabilitative maintenance may only be ordered to be paid for up to a period three (3) years.
If you would like to request an award of spousal maintenance, it would be beneficial to speak with attorney who has had experience in such matters given the fact that a spousal maintenance award is extremely fact-sensitive. A maintenance request should be made only when appropriate so as to avoid unnecessary delay in resolving your case, as it could lead to potential conflicts which otherwise can distract the parties from reaching a reasonable settlement.
At Hollingsworth & Zivitz, P.C., our team has the experience, the understanding, and the compassion to assist with your family law needs. If you have questions or concerns regarding divorce, custody, support, maintenance or any other family law concerns, please contact our firm at 317.DIVORCE or visit our website at www.hzlegal.com.