What is Spousal Support?

In Indiana, alimony is typically referred to as spousal support. This support is court-ordered to one spouse paid by the other during or following a divorce. Spousal support is used to ensure that one spouse isn’t left in financial distress, leveling the financial burden for both parties moving forward following filing for divorce.

Payments may be required as a lump sum or in intervals for an extended period of time. There are multiple options for spousal support, which will be summarized below.

Types of Spousal Support in Indiana

Rehabilitative support refers to an amount that is awarded to one spouse or the other for them to “get on their feet” or allows them time to seek training or schooling that could put them in a different category and will enable them to support themselves sufficiently.

Rehabilitative support is typically awarded when one of the spouses chooses to put their career, schooling, or further training on hold while they are married. The courts may review and determine that the spouse made sufficient sacrifices to better themselves financially and now must have support while they enter college, further training, or other options. The term for rehabilitative support is typically three years. However, each case is reviewed, and the timeline may be different for each situation.

Typical examples are if one spouse chooses to forego advancement in their career or seek higher education to stay home and raise children while the other parent excels in their career.

Courts may find that one party should have some time to secure higher education or training and should obtain financial support while they do this so they can better support themselves and any children moving forward once they obtain the goal.

Caregiver Spousal Maintenance is another option used when one spouse has taken over the duty of caring for a loved one full-time. The loved one is, in many cases, their disabled child. The caregiver is typically unable to work as they must be available consistently to care for their child.

Courts will review each unique situation and determine the sufficient amount and how long the support will last. It’s important to note that courts have significant discretion regarding how long and what amount may be awarded. There is not typically a strict calculation that is followed; instead, each scenario is thoroughly reviewed, and a realistic amount is ordered as support.

Another form of spousal support is temporary maintenance, which is based on the incapacity of a spouse. In some cases, one of the spouses is incapacitated, either mentally or physically, and is unable to work. In these cases, courts will review the financial needs of the family. They may award temporary assistance to a spouse to ensure they are able to sustain a realistic lifestyle and avoid economic issues.

Courts will review the paying spouse’s ability to pay support as well as how long the support may be necessary to determine the length and amount of support. Courts are typically open to considering lowering the payments in the future after the recipient reaches a certain age or no longer cares for young children.

Is Support Awarded During the Divorce or After?

In some cases, the courts will award support to start during the divorce proceedings before it is finalized. In many cases, one of the spouses may need to find a new home or place to rent. The courts want to ensure that both parties remain financially secure and avoid being displaced or homeless while the divorce unfolds.

This financial support is typically used for basic expenses and housing for the recipient’s spouse and children when necessary. Each situation will differ, and the courts have significant discretion regarding how they award temporary maintenance.

Reaching an Agreement Without the Court

Couples may have addressed spousal support in their pre or post-nuptial agreement. If this occurs, courts will typically honor it as long as the amount and timing are realistic for both parties.

Couples can also seek mediation or other forms of negotiations to form an agreement outside of courts and present it together. Courts will still review to ensure both parties are left with sufficient financial help, and if they agree that it’s the best option for all involved, they will typically honor the agreement.

Can Changes Be Made?

As life changes, so do our needs and the needs of our children. Spousal support must be flexible with these changes in a realistic way. Modifications can typically be made as our needs change. However, the change must be deemed significant or real for the courts to review the cases.

Suppose you or your ex have had significant changes to your financial situation, for example, such as a significant illness, significant change in income, or more. In that case, the courts may review your case and deem that the amount of support you once received is insufficient and may make changes to accommodate both parties.

Your Strong Advocate During a Trying Time

Divorce is almost always difficult, but the process doesn’t have to be daunting. By working with an experienced attorney, you can ensure that you have a fierce advocate in your corner to fight for what is right and ensure you are financially stable moving forward by all means necessary.

We have our client’s best interests at heart, and we help them see what steps are helpful now and in their future. Let’s work together to help you navigate this part of your life and prepare you for the next chapter.

Contact our office at (317) 623-4546 to schedule your case evaluation. We look forward to serving you.