A frequently contentious issue in Indiana family law is support (also referred to as maintenance). This can include child and spousal support. Regarding spousal support, generally when a marriage ends, one spouse will be ordered to pay support to the other. This can be for a certain time-period or it can be indefinite. If there were children from the marriage, a custodial parent will often receive child support payments from the noncustodial parent. If the court makes the determination as to how much will be paid and other factors, there are certain findings that it can make. Understanding these potential findings is imperative for both parties.
When a spouse has been found to be mentally or physically incapacitated to the degree that they are unable to self-support, the court can find that maintenance will be needed during that time. If it is found that a spouse does not have enough property – including marital property that has been granted as part of the case; and that spouse has custody of a child with a mental or physical incapacity that makes it necessary for the person to refrain from gaining employment, the court can find that maintenance will be needed for a duration and in an amount that the court deems appropriate.
The court will consider the following when deciding if there should be rehabilitative maintenance: what the level of education is for each when they were married and when the dissolution begins; if there was an interruption in the education, employment or training for the spouse who is requesting maintenance while they were married because of needs at home or for child care; what the earning abilities are with education, skills, training, work history and amount of time the person was off the job market; and how much it will cost to become capable of finding suitable employment. The court will decide on an appropriate amount of time for the maintenance, but it cannot go beyond three years.
For couples who are in a dispute over maintenance, it is critical to know what the court can do depending on the circumstances. From both perspectives – the paying spouse and the receiving spouse – it is important to understand what is possible and how the court goes about making its decisions. A law firm that specializes in divorce, child and spousal support and any other issue that can arise in a family law case should be contacted for representation immediately.