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What is Spousal Support?

by | May 6, 2021 | Divorce

In fact, it may be necessary for one of you to provide support for your spouse, even if you do not want to romantically interact with them. In divorce, there are conditions surrounding spousal support, and when it should be given vary case by case, it is best to discuss the matter with a divorce lawyer first. If you need an Indiana divorce attorney, call us at [nap_phone id=”LOCAL-CT-NUMBER-1″], we are skilled in helping our clients Spousal support is not guaranteed and is determined on a case-by-case basis. There are instances when a family court judge would deny maintenance payments. 

What is Spousal Support?

Spousal support refers to money provided to a spouse during and after divorce proceedings. Providing spousal support reduces inequality in the economic effects of separation. For instance, if one spouse has given up their career for the sake of their marriage, they may need additional support to develop the skills needed to re-enter the workforce.

What Determines Eligibility for Spousal Maintenance Payments?

Eligibility for these maintenance payments depends on several factors. Spousal maintenance payments are about maintaining a standard of living that each spouse has grown accustomed to living. With that in mind, the length of time the marriage existed is significant in the court’s opinion. Spousal support is usually not considered in short-term marriages. There are other instances when spousal support is seriously considered are in the following situations:

  • One spouse is experiencing health problems
  • One spouse makes drastically less money
  • Each spouse’s education level
  • Each spouse’s marketable skills
  • Each spouse’s earning capacity
  • If any financial agreements were made before or during the marriage

Any prenuptial agreements are also taken into advisement at this time during the divorce proceedings. 

When are Spousal Support Payments Ordered?

Payments of spousal support are issued as part of divorce proceedings. However, based on the circumstance, a judge has the authority to order spousal support payments before divorce proceedings begin. Conditions surrounding the terms, amounts, and frequency of spousal support payments generally vary case by case. It is in your best interest to discuss potential spousal maintenance with your divorce attorney for the best guidance.    

Do Spousal Maintenance Payments End?

Fortunately, spousal support will not continue indefinitely. In most cases, the judge will establish an ending date for the payments. There are certain situations when the court awards indefinite support. Usually, indefinite spousal support is ordered for couples that have been married for an extended period or if one spouse is disabled.

Temporary Spousal Support

In Indiana, family court judges have the authority to consider whether temporary spousal support payments are eligible and if the costs should be paid based on the following considerations listed in the State of Indiana statutes regarding Maintenance and Spousal Support Payments: 

Indiana Code 31-15-7-2 Findings concerning maintenance

Below is the State of Indiana Code that outlines all of the specific findings regarding spousal maintenance payments and the specifics outlining the terms of consideration of any special spousal maintenance ordered by the court.  Sec. 2. A court may make the following findings concerning maintenance: (1) If the court finds a spouse to be physically or mentally incapacitated to the extent that the ability of the incapacitated spouse to support himself or herself is materially affected, the court may find that maintenance for the spouse is necessary during the period of incapacity, subject to further order of the court. (2) If the court finds that:

  • a spouse lacks sufficient property, including marital property apportioned to the spouse, to provide for the spouse’s needs; and
  • the spouse is the custodian of a child whose physical or mental incapacity requires the custodian to forgo employment; the court may find that maintenance is necessary for the spouse in an amount, and for a period of time court considers appropriate.

(3) After considering: (A) the educational level of each spouse at the time of marriage and at the time the action commenced; (B) whether an interruption in the education, training, or employment of a spouse who is seeking maintenance occurred during the marriage as a result of homemaking or child care responsibilities, or both; (C) the earning capacity of each spouse; including educational background, training, employment skills, work experience, and length of presence in or absence from the job market; and (D) the time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the spouse who is seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment; a court may find that rehabilitative maintenance for the spouse seeking maintenance is necessary for an amount and a period that the court considers appropriate, but not to exceed three (3) years from the date of the final decree.

Spousal Support Payments Can Be Modified

If you have asked the question, how long do you pay spousal support? The answer is complex. First, it is essential to note that spousal support payments are not inflexible, and under certain circumstances, the amount in interim spousal support payments could change. Spousal support payments are almost certainly modified when:

  • There is a remarriage
  • A spouse is experiencing sickness
  • A spouse receives a salary increase

Getting advice from your divorce lawyer is essential. This is important, especially if both spouses have previously signed an agreement regarding spousal support payments.

If You Have Questions About Spousal Support

Spousal support has a significant impact on the health and security of your financial future. It is essential to speak with a spousal support attorney as soon as possible. Call and speak with one of the attorneys at Zentz & Roberts, P.C at [nap_phone id=”LOCAL-CT-NUMBER-1″] or email us at

***Please note: This page is not intended to give specific legal advice but is meant for information purposes only. Contact us to discuss your case***