Spousal Maintenance Lawyers: Does Indiana Award Alimony to Stay-at-Home Moms and Dads?

In the Hoosier state, the traditional concept of alimony has been replaced with what’s known as “spousal maintenance.” But what does this mean for stay-at-home moms and dads who have devoted years, often decades, to raising their children and managing their homes? In this article, we will delve deep into this topic to shed light on the intricacies of Indiana’s stance on this matter.

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If you are interested in seeking spousal maintenance in Indiana, we invite you to call our office to schedule a consultation. We can listen to the facts of your case and explain your legal options for pursuing full and fair support payments.

No Traditional Alimony in Indiana

Unlike many states, Indiana does not offer “alimony” in the classical sense. Instead, the focus is on spousal maintenance, a financial support mechanism aimed at assisting a spouse, often for a shorter duration, particularly when they need to re-enter the workforce or gain the necessary skills to do so.

What Is Spousal Maintenance?

In Indiana, spousal maintenance, more commonly known outside the state as “alimony,” is a support payment made to a spouse. It’s specifically designed for those who:

  • Made career-related sacrifices during their marriage;
  • Are incapacitated and financially unable to support themselves; or
  • Cannot work outside due to caring for a disabled child from the marriage.

The fundamental idea is that in a marriage, both partners contribute equally, though not always in monetary terms. For instance, a homemaker, while contributing significantly to the household, does not earn an external paycheck. Spousal maintenance seeks to address this imbalance, albeit not to the extent of maintaining the same standard of living as during the marriage.

The Plight of Stay-at-Home Moms and Dads

Stay-at-home moms and dads make significant sacrifices for their families. By choosing to stay home, they often forgo personal career advancement and financial independence. This choice, while rewarding in many familial aspects, can pose challenges if the marriage ends in divorce.

With years or even decades out of the workforce, re-entry can be daunting. However, Indiana provides a legal mechanism known as rehabilitative maintenance to help many stay-at-home parents obtain the skills they need to reach financial independence.

Rehabilitative Maintenance: A Ray of Hope for Stay-at-Home Parents Seeking Alimony

Recognizing the challenges stay-at-home parents face, Indiana courts might grant what is termed “rehabilitative maintenance.” This is not a permanent solution but a temporary aid to help the spouse transition back to the workforce. The intent is to provide them with the financial support they need while they acquire the necessary education or training for gainful employment.

How Long Is Rehabilitative Spousal Maintenance Typically Awarded in Indiana?

The calculation for spousal maintenance in Indiana varies from many states. Instead of a fixed formula, Indiana relies on a judge’s discretion to determine the appropriate amount based on various factors:

  • Duration of Marriage. Courts may be more willing to award spousal support for longer marriages.
  • Standard of Living and Property Settlement. The lifestyle enjoyed by both parties during the marriage and the assets they receive post-divorce are considered.
  • Custodial Status. Spouses with custody, especially of disabled children, might receive higher alimony payments. This is distinct from child support.

However, it is critical to note that rehabilitative maintenance is capped at three years from the date of the final decree.[1]

Does Infidelity Impact Whether An Individual Will Be Awarded Indiana Spousal Maintenance?

In Indiana, infidelity or marital fault does not impact whether one is awarded spousal maintenance. Many people assume that if a spouse has been unfaithful, it might affect the amount or awarding of alimony. However, in Indiana, this is not the case.

Schedule A Consultation With An Experienced New Albany Alimony Attorney and Spousal Maintenance Lawyer.

The landscape of spousal support is ever-evolving, and Indiana’s approach offers a unique perspective. Stay-at-home parents, while not having the traditional safety net of alimony, do have avenues to seek support. At Mattox & Wilson, we are committed to guiding our clients through this process, ensuring they understand their rights and options every step of the way. Call today to schedule a consultation to learn more about how we can help with your spousal maintenance matter.

[1] IN Code § 31-15-7-2.

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