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How long does spousal maintenance last after a divorce?

On Behalf of | Aug 4, 2023 | Family Law |

When people get married and build a family, sacrifices are often part of the process. One spouse might work overtime on the weekends to help afford their children’s medical expenses, while the other might potentially give up their career development to raise the youngest members of the family.

Those contemplating divorce may want some reimbursement for the sacrifices they have made for the family. Especially when one spouse sacrifices their professional development for the family unit, a lower-earning spouse may sometimes expect to receive financial support during and after a divorce.

What people refer to as alimony or spousal support in other states is spousal maintenance according to Indiana state statutes. Spouses can either agree to maintenance or litigate the latter. In scenarios where the courts agree that maintenance is necessary, one spouse will make regular payments to the other. How long does spousal maintenance usually last?

Rehabilitative maintenance won’t last long

The support someone requires to rebuild their career and improve their overall earning potential is rehabilitative maintenance. The courts generally only award short-term maintenance to those who are capable of working. A lower-earning or financially dependent spouse in Indiana who intends to return to their career after a divorce will usually only be eligible for, at most, three years of rehabilitative support. They will, therefore, need to start developing a plan to increase their earning potential as soon as possible.

Support can last longer for those unable to work

In scenarios where health issues that arose during the marriage prevent someone from working at all or in which their age and lack of education will prevent them from supporting themselves, longer-term maintenance may be possible. However, the courts will generally only continue that maintenance for as long as someone remains incapacitated and fully incapable of working.

Additionally, the duration of the marriage can influence how long one spouse has a responsibility to the other after a divorce. Certain other factors, like a decline in health that affects the person paying spousal maintenance or the remarriage of someone receiving maintenance payments could result in an early termination of those payments.

Learning more about the rules that govern maintenance obligations in Indiana may help both higher-earning and dependent spouses feel more confident about moving forward with marital dissolution.